Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The situations of conflict and humanitarian crisis in Syria, Korea and Africa were among the topics discussed today by Pope Francis and the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, during a meeting held This morning in the Vatican.
"The meeting - reads a statement from the Press Office of the Holy See - which follows in the tradition of audiences granted by Popes to the various Secretaries-General of the United Nations who have held that position over the years, hopes to express the appreciation that the Holy See has for that Organization's central role in the preservation of peace in the world, in the promotion of the common good of humanity, and in the defense of fundamental human rights. "
"During the course of the cordial conversations, issues of mutual interest were discussed, in particular: situations of conflict and serious humanitarian emergency, especially in Syria and other places such as the Korean peninsula and the African continent, where peace and stability are threatened. The problem of human trafficking was noted, in particular that of women, refugees, and migrants. The UN Secretary-General, who recently began his second term in this role, outlined his project for his second five-year mandate, which focuses, among other things, on conflict prevention, international solidarity, and equitable and sustainable economic development. "
"Pope Francis also recalled the Catholic Church's contribution, beginning with her identity and through the means proper to her, in support of the entirety of human dignity and in promoting a Culture of Encounter that helps to realize the UN's highest institutional goals. "
The Secretary of the UN - the seventh to be received by a pope, since the time of John XXIII - was accompanied by a delegation of 12 people. He was greeted in the St. Damasus courtyard by the Swiss Guard. Ban Ki-moon addressed the Pope saying: "On behalf of the United Nations congratulations for the beginning of your mandate. It's very important - he added - to meet a spiritual leader of the world. " He subsequently stated that "the United Nations and the Holy See share ideas and goals."
The Pope and the UN Secretary General had a private interview lasting 20 minutes, with the presence of an interpreter. In the subsequent customary exchange of gifts, Ban Ki Moon gave the Charter of the United Nations in the 6 official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish) to the Pope. Francis gifted the UN secretary general a mosaic with an image of Rome. Rosaries for the members of his delegation.