Without States' Political Will for Peace, U.N. Can't Fulfill Its Role, Says Vatican

But Still Sees International Organization as Key Player

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NEW YORK, OCT. 28, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Political will to build peace on the part of countries’ representatives is indispensable if the United Nations is to become a transparent institution, says the Holy See.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, expressed that conviction Tuesday when addressing the General Assembly on the topic “Culture of Peace.”

“While it is true that the other name of peace is authentic development for all peoples, my delegation also believes that an important engine for this peace is political will,” said the archbishop.

“Harnessing it will greatly assist this assembly to move forward from the imputed perception of being a mere forum for analysis or a resolution-making machine into a real locus for the cultivation of transparency and building up of confidence,” he continued.

“With political will, the untapped moral resources of nations can emerge to transform civilizations so that, finally, they learn to treasure life and promote peace,” the archbishop said.

“It is very clear that the world needs peace now as much as ever. My delegation is pleased to seize this occasion to reiterate its confidence in the United Nations as one of the key institutions at mankind’s disposal for the spread of a culture of peace,” the Vatican representative continued.

“With the necessary cooperation from all its members, the U.N. can truly be an effective instrument of the political will of the world’s nations,” the archbishop added.

“In spite of these successes — and initiatives such as the goals of globalization within this International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World — the usually more-dominant culture appears sometimes to trigger cultural reactions against true peace and create suspicions about it,” he cautioned.

“Similarly, globalization seems unable to prevent threats to peace because cultural revivalism tends to create walls that separate people from one another. Cynicism emerges from misunderstanding among peoples that are the results of unnecessary barriers,” the Vatican representative said.

“The concept of security itself has come to create a continuing tension between national, international and global security interests,” Archbishop Migliore noted.

“The defense of peace, so often a fragile entity, must be reinforced,” he continued. “This can be achieved by cultivating in the minds of all people of good will the imperative to become in some way agents of peace. They are its architects, its builders and even its bridges. Making peace a reality is possible, through the education of consciences that an openness and respect for others can produce.”

In this promotion of the culture of peace, respect for freedom of religion is very important, Archbishop Migliore stressed, pointing out that over the past year the General Assembly approved a resolution highlighting the increase of “acts of violence, intimidation and coercion motivated by religious intolerance.”

In fact, the archbishop indicated, there have been examples, some promoted by UNESCO, of cooperation among representatives of various religions to address challenges such as “terrorism, conflict resolution, HIV/AIDS, the role of religious leaders in easing tensions, in counteracting the hijacking of religious values for use as a pretext to justify violence, and in supporting disarmament and nonproliferation.”

“Here, in this discussion,” he added, “the Holy See raises this point in order to call for a more energetic commitment to underline the deep linkages between the promotion of the culture of peace and the strengthening of the disarmament and nonproliferation process.”

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