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'End Religious Persecution,' Trump Tells Leaders At UN

U.S. President Donald Trump (file photo)

U.S. President Donald Trump has called on countries to "end religious persecution," saying that about 80 percent of the world's population is living in places where religious liberty is "threatened, restricted, or even banned."

Speaking on September 23 at an event on religious freedom at the United Nations in New York, Trump said it was the world leaders' "urgent moral duty" to stop crimes against faith, release prisoners of conscience, and repeal laws restricting religious liberty.

The president said that people of all major faiths faced persecution, but much of his address focused on Christians.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took part in the event, and called religious freedom a "pressing global issue."

Before attending the gathering, Trump made a surprise but brief visit to a UN climate summit.

He is also set to hold a series of bilateral meetings with world leaders, including Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Andrzej Duda of Poland, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The president will deliver his main speech to the UN General Assembly on September 24.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa