U.N. Irreplaceable for International Dialogue, Says Archbishop Martino

Vatican Official Comments on the Next World Day of Peace

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 22, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The United Nations is "irreplaceable" as a forum for international dialogue and world peace, and "the Holy See has not stopped supporting it," says a Vatican official.



Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, issued that statement today. It was made with an eye toward John Paul II's topic for the 2004 World Day of Peace -- "International Law, A Path to Peace." The day will be observed on Jan. 1.

In announcing the topic last week, the Holy See said: "Humanity is faced with a crucial challenge: If it does not succeed in giving itself institutions that are really effective in eliminating the scourge of war, the risk is that the law of force will prevail over the force of law."

The World Day topic focuses attention on the United Nations, given its importance as the only forum "that, by its representativeness, can offer a platform of dialogue at the world level," Archbishop Martino said.

"The Holy See is convinced, and this is not something recent, that the worldwide common good must be pursued with adequate structures of universal competence," he added.

The archbishop, who for many years was permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, advocates the latter's reform in at least two areas: the first would aim to "empower the functioning of the Security Council."

The second would aim to ensure that the international body could "guarantee order and security better, not only from the political and military point of view, but also in the economic and social field. For example, the new problems relating to protection of the environment and health require urgent measures that are respected by all," the archbishop continued.

With an eye toward promoting world peace, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace plans two meetings for next autumn -- "one in New York, with the participation of Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the U.N.; the other in Paris, with the participation of Koichiro Matsuura, director general of UNESCO," Archbishop Martino announced.