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Pope Francis talks to journalists during a press conference on his return flight from Cairo to Rome April 29, 2017. REUTERS/Gregorio Borgia/Pool

(reuters_tickers)

By Philip Pullella

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Saturday a third country should try to mediate the dispute between North Korea and Washington, saying the situation had become "too hot" and the world risked a devastating war.

Francis said he believed "a good part of humanity" would be destroyed in any widespread war.

Speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him back from Cairo, Francis also said he was ready to meet U.S. President Donald Trump when he is in Europe next month but that he was not aware that Washington had made a request for a meeting.

In answer to a question about the tensions between the United States and North Korea, Francis said the United Nations should re-assert its leadership in world diplomacy because it had become "too watered down".

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Reuters