International Law: a Path to Peace, Archbishop Martino Restates

Interview with President of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 24, 2003 (ZENIT.orgFides).- Archbishop Renato Martino comments on the theme «International Law, A Path to Peace,» the title chosen by John Paul II for the World Peace Day on January 1, 2004 [see ZENIT, July 22, 2003].

Q: Archbishop Martino, does the theme chosen re-launch multilateralism and the irreplaceable role of the Untied Nations to avert the scourge of war and guarantee the supreme good of peace?

Archbishop Martino: My experience of the United Nations has convinced me of the importance of this forum, the only one, which because it is such a wide representation, can provide a platform of dialogue at the world level. In this sense it is an irreplaceable organization and in this sense the Holy See has not failed to support it, as can be seen in a recent letter of secretary of state Cardinal Angelo Sodano to the secretary general of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan. The theme of the next World Day for Peace intends to underline the value of law in the framework of international relations, starting from one essential principle: pacta sunt servanda.

Q: But in your opinion, is the United Nations as it is today able to play this vital role or is there increasingly need of reform long awaited and still not in sight?

Archbishop Martino: For a long time it has been said that the UNO needs reforming at different levels. The Holy See is convinced, as always, that the common world good must be pursued with adequate structures with universal competencies. This is clearly the teaching of «Pacem in Terris» of which we have celebrated the 40th anniversary.

I think reforms must go in two directions: on the one hand, to empower and improve the functioning of the Security Council; on the other, the UNO must be able to guarantee better order and security, not only from a political and military point of view but also in the economic and social field. For example the new questions with regard to protecting the environment and health demand urgent measures to be respected by all.

Q: What does the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace intend to do to reap more fruit from the next World Day for Peace?

Archbishop Martino: The Council I have the honor of presiding over is deeply committed to promoting conditions to foster the realization of the proposals made by the Holy Father with his choice of the theme for the next World Day for Peace. In particular in the coming Autumn there will be two meetings in the framework of the United Nations, both under the banner of «Pacem in Terris»: one in New York with the participation of Mr. Kofi Annan, secretary general of the United Nations, and the other in Paris, with the participation of Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, Director general of UNESCO.

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