(Vatican Radio) “It was an uplifting and hopeful meeting. Pope Francis is a man of
peace and purpose. He is a voice for the voiceless. I look forward to continuing
our conversation…and following in the tradition of his predecessors I was delighted
to invite Pope Francis to visit the United Nations at his earliest convenience”, said
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon following his meeting Tuesday morning
with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
The Secretary General spoke to a restricted pool of news agencies, including Vatican Radio, after the audience and had words of praise for Pope Francis’ outreach to people of other faiths and non-believers describing him as a ‘bridge builder’. He also highlighted the Holy Father’s compassion for the poor as the 1000 day countdown begins for the Millennium Development Goal deadline.
Listen to Alessandro Gisotti’s full interview with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:
“I told His Holiness that his choice of name after St Francis of Assisi was a powerful image for the many goals and purposes shared by the United Nations. He speaks loudly of his commitment to the poor, he has a deep sense of humility, his passion and compassion to improve the human condition. I was especially privileged to meet Pope Francis as we mark 1000 days to the deadline to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We discussed the need to advance social justice and accelerate work to meet with the MDG’s this is vital if we are to meet the Millennium promise to the world’s poorest”.
“I was also very heartened by the commitment of Pope Francis to build bridges among the communities of faith. I strongly believe that inter-faith dialogue can point a way to a deeper appreciation of shared values which in turn can lead to tolerance inclusion and peace. This is the driving force of the UN’s ‘Alliance of civilizations’ initiative and I greatly appreciated the opportunity to speak with Pope Francis about furthering this work”.
“It was an uplifting and hopeful meeting. Pope Francis is a man of peace and purpose. He is a voice for the voiceless. I look forward to continuing our conversation. In this period and following in the tradition of his predecessor I was delighted to invite Pope Francis to visit the United Nations at his earliest convenience”.
Below a statement issued by the Secretariat of State following the audience
On the morning of Tuesday, April 9, 2013, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the Secretary-General of the United Nations, HE Mr Ban Ki-Moon, who later met with His Eminence the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, accompanied by Archbishop Antoine Camilleri, Under-Secretary for Relations with States.
The meeting, which is part in the tradition of audiences granted by the Popes to the various Secretaries-General of the United Nations over time, desired to express the appreciation that the Holy See has for the central role of the Organization in the preservation of peace in the world, in the promotion of the common good of humanity and the defense of fundamental human rights.
The cordial conversations focused on issues of mutual interest, in particular on situations of conflict and serious humanitarian emergencies, especially Syria, and others, such as the Korean Peninsula and the African continent, where peace and stability are threatened. Reference was also made to the problem of trafficking in persons, especially women, and that of refugees and migrants.
The UN Secretary General, who recently began his second term in office, presented his five year program, focused, among other things, on conflict prevention, international solidarity and equitable and sustainable economic development .
Pope Francis also recalled the contribution of the Catholic Church, starting from Her identity and the means that are proper to Her, in favor of integral human dignity and the promotion of a Culture of Encounter that contributes to the highest institutional purposes of organization.