Pope says religious leaders must unite to defeat "barbarity"

Pope Francis meeting Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt April 28, 2017. in this handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

CAIRO (Reuters) - Leaders of all faiths should unite in renouncing religious extremism and counter the "barbarity of those who foment hatred and violence," Pope Francis said on Friday at the start of a two-day visit to Cairo.

"Let us say once more a firm and clear 'No!' to every form of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out in the name of religion or in the name of God," the pope told a peace conference at Egypt's highest Islamic authority, Al-Azhar.

Francis's trip, aimed at improving ties between Muslims and Roman Catholics, comes three weeks after Islamic State suicide bombers killed at least 45 people in two Egyptian churches.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Giles Elgood)