Nationalist leaders are weakening the world’s system of multilateral diplomacy, Pope Francis warned on Monday in his annual address to ambassadors to the Holy See.

The pope decried “the resurgence of nationalistic tendencies at odds with the vocation of international organisations to be a setting for dialogue and encounter for all countries.”

The Argentine pontiff highlighted “a certain inability of the multilateral system to offer effective solutions to a number of long unresolved situations, like certain protracted conflicts.”

Today’s rise to power of populist and nationalist leaders mirrors what happened between the two world wars, when the United Nations’ predecessor, the League of Nations, failed in its efforts to prevent conflict, Francis said.

“The reappearance of these impulses today is progressively weakening the multilateral system, resulting in a general lack of trust, a crisis of credibility in international political life, and a gradual marginalisation of the most vulnerable members of the family of nations,” he said.