Thursday, 19 April 2007

Ban Ki-Moon Invites Benedict XVI to the United Nations.

Pope and Secretary-General Discuss World Peace

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 18, 2007 ( Ban Ki-moon has officially invited Benedict XVI to visit the United Nations, after a meeting between the two leaders in Rome.

The Vatican press office reported that the Pope and the U.N. secretary-general met today, and Ban extended the invitation, but details of when the visit could take place were not given.

According to the Vatican statement, the Holy Father and Ban "have discussed themes of common interest, for example, the restoration of trust in multilateral relations and the strengthening of dialogue between cultures, not failing to mention the international situations that merit particular attention."

The statement further noted that during the meeting, which lasted some 20 minutes, mention was made of "the contribution that the Catholic Church and the Holy See can make -- maintaining its identity and with the means proper to it -- to the action of the United Nations in resolving current conflicts and reaching understanding between nations."

The Vatican asserted that the visit of Ban is a sign of the Holy See's appreciation of "the central role carried out by the organization in maintaining peace in the world and promoting the development of peoples."

At the same time, the statement added, the secretary-general "has wanted to visit the Holy Father in the course of his first visits to Africa, Europe and the Middle East, shortly after taking on his new post last Jan. 1, so as to officially invite [the Pope] to visit the see of the United Nations."

Following the audience with Benedict XVI, Ban met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, who was accompanied by the secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.