Perez de Cuellar had met the Holy Father on several occasions during his tenure as former U.N. Secretary General (1981-1991). He was sent as a special envoy of the Peruvian government for the celebrations of John Paul II’s 25th anniversary.
It is an inspiration that he has transmitted not only "with his words" but with the force of "his enormous efforts to put an end to the Communist regime in Eastern Europe," the ambassador explained to the Vatican agency "Fides."
In fact, the Holy Father "made a determinant contribution to putting an end to the Cold War. The end of the Cold War facilitated solutions to all the political problems in the United Nations, which were systematically opposed by the Soviet Union's veto," Perez de Cuellar added.
"The great value of John Paul II's message and activity for peace does not stop at theoretical teaching, it consists also of concrete efforts," the diplomat continued.
"His contribution towards building peace lies in his wise discernment of the obstacles on the path to peace: the absence of political will on the part of the main world powers to solve social problems at the root of violence and war," he stressed.
Perez de Cuellar explained that the "United Nations takes the Pope's words as a permanent indication because he himself is seen as a source of faith and hope, not only for his teaching but also for his concrete commitment," he added.
The Peruvian diplomat said that in his meetings with the Holy Father as U.N. Secretary General, he was "always impressed by his sincere interest in every international problem and by his great prudence before expressing a personal opinion."
"So we can say that, besides all his other qualities, widely recognized, John Paul II is also an excellent diplomat," he concluded.