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Christian groups call for action from G8

The G8 summit of world leaders is under way in Northern Ireland, with tax avoidance and the global economy among the topics to be discussed.  But Syria is likely to dominate the agenda over the two days with Prime Minister David Cameron saying he hoped G8 nations would focus on finding "common ground" on the issue of bringing peace.

He said:

"Well I'm delighted to welcome world leaders here to Northern Ireland for this G8 summit and the agenda we have is one that is about helping the world to grow together both the developing countries but also the developed countries too. 

"We shouldn't accept that the only alternative to Assad is terrorism and violence we should be on the side of Syrians who want a democratic and peaceful future for their country and one without the man who is currently using chemical weapons against them."

Nations gathering in Lough Erne in County Fermanagh are the UK; US; Russia; Canada; France; Germany; Italy and Japan. Laura Taylor is the Head of Policy at Christian development charity Tearfund.

Speaking to John and Phoebe on Premier's Inspirational Breakfast show she explained what she's looking for from the summit.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu is keen the leaders address the issue of tax avoidance. 

Speaking at St Macartin's Cathdedral in Enniskillen ahead of the summit he said:

"If we stop big companies dodging taxes in the two-thirds world, millions of people could free themselves from hunger. 

"Too many unscrupulous businesses and individuals manage to avoid paying the taxes they owe particularly in developing countries. 

"They're dodging millions of pounds every day. Indirectly robbing the poor of education, health, food, employment and sustainable development.

"The two-thirds world loses three times more to tax havens than they receive in aid each year.  "That money could help millions of people to be freed from hunger.

"They are not only robbing people but God himself who calls us all to love mercy, do justice and walk humbly before him.

"We can help stop this tax dodging if our G8 governments step up to close the international tax loopholes."

Barry Johnston is from Christian Aid and speaks on behalf of the Enough Food for Everyone IF Campaign.

He told Premier's Marcus Jones on the News Hour he's hopeful we will see some strong commitments from the world leaders.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama stopped off in Belfast to address schoolchildren before travelling to the summit. Speaking at the city's Waterfront Hall he urged the people and politicians of Northern Ireland to continue working for peace.

He said:

"If you continue your courageous path to a permanent peace and all the social and economic benefits that come with it, that won't just be good for'll be good for the entire island, it will be good for the United Kingdom, Europe and for the world."

Peter Lynas is the Director of Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland.

He gave his reaction to the President's comments to Premier's Marcus Jones on the News Hour.

And a 16 year-old girl from Northern Ireland is trending on Twitter after introducing Michelle Obama to an audience of teenagers in Belfast. Hannah Nelson was asked to make the address after winning an essay competition which she only found out about last week.

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