Pope Benedict XVI to speak at UN Headquarters next week

11 April 2008

Pope Benedict XVI will address the General Assembly and staff of the United Nations in separate events at UN Headquarters next Friday during the first day of a visit by the head of the Roman Catholic Church to New York.

During his scheduled three-hour visit to UN Headquarters, the Pope will also meet with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim and Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency this month.

The visit will fall on the first anniversary of Mr. Ban’s visit to the Vatican, when the Secretary-General then invited the Pope to come to the UN. It is the fourth papal visit to the UN, following those of Paul VI in 1965 and John Paul II in 1979 and 1995.

A spokesperson for the Secretary-General said today that Mr. Ban looked forward to meeting the Pope again and continuing their discussions on issues of common concern, such as poverty reduction, climate change, disarmament, and dialogue among civilizations.

Mr. Kerim told reporters that the Pope’s address to the 192-member Assembly would be particularly important as he represented more than one billion people around the world.

“More than ever we need today an articulated, clear and profound dialogue among cultures and religions, particularly between Christianity and Islam,” he said.


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General Assembly President meets Italian leaders and Pope Benedict XVI

General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim has held talks today in Rome with Pope Benedict XVI and Italian Government leaders, discussing issues including climate change, United Nations reform, inter-religious dialogue and the fight against poverty during the first leg of his official European trip.