Nobel Win for U.N. and Kofi Annan Is Sign for Future, Vatican Says

Observer at Geneva Notes the Problems That Remain

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ROME, OCT. 12, 2001 ( The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations and its secretary-general, Kofi Annan, is an important omen for the future of the institution, a Vatican aide said today.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Vatican´s permanent observer at the U.N. headquarters in Geneva, told Vatican Radio that «the global world will increasingly need a world organization in which all states are represented.»

In awarding the prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee praised the organization of 189 nations and Annan for working for peace in the world, stating that the 63-year-old secretary-general has injected «new life» into the United Nations and has struggled for human rights and against AIDS and international terrorism.

Archbishop Martin said that, when the Pope addressed the United Nations in 1995 on the role of this institution, he said that it «must be not only the center of activity for the resolution of conflicts, but also to promote values, attitudes and initiatives of solidarity.»

«Certainly, in contributing to peace there have also been dark moments in the history of the United Nations,» the archbishop explained. «But it is necessary to recall that it is a multilateral and intergovernmental organization, and its policies are linked to the policies of the states and great powers.»

The principal problems faced by the United Nations in promoting peace with greater efficiency are «the lack of funds and a certain ambiguity on the part of the great powers that use the U.N. when it is useful to them, and forget it or even weaken it when it is not part of their short-term interests,» Archbishop Martin lamented.

Referring to Kofi Annan, the archbishop said he was «a very humble man in the way he presents himself, a man who has the courage to address problems, even in face of the lack of interest of the great powers.»

«He is also a very spiritual man, and does not hide the fact that he draws strength for his work from his personal spiritual and religious roots,» Archbishop Martin concluded.

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