Pope Benedict XVI has condemned terrorism and religious fanaticism, and called for disarmament and an end to the nuclear arms race.

In the first message of his papacy for World Peace Day, which the Roman Catholic Church marks on New Year's Day the pope warned that religious fundamentalism could inspire terrorists.

The pontiff denounced growing military spending and criticized governments that count on nuclear arms to guarantee security. He said there will be no victors in nuclear war, only victims. and the pope urged all governments to strive for nuclear disarmament.

The pope defended the United Nations as a force in protecting international law but urged greater U.N. efficiency in promoting justice and peace in the world.

Cardinal Renato Martino, who presented the document to journalists, said the pope also urged full respect for international humanitarian law and denounced torture.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.