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GLOBAL : “Pope Francis a man of moral voice and purpose”

September 14, 2015 ·  By World News for Vatican Radio

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Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations (Vatican Radio via CNUA) “[Pope Francis] is a man of humility and humanity, and he is a man of moral voice, and purpose.” There were the words with which the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, described the Holy Father in an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio ahead of the Pope’s visit to the United Nations in New York at the end of September.

“We are looking forward with great excitement [to] His Holiness, Pope Francis’ visit to the United Nations,” said Ban, adding, “I’m grateful for his compassionate leadership for peace and humanity.” In a broad-ranging conversation with Paolo Mastrolilli, long-time US correspondent for Vatican Radio’s Italian-language news service, Ban addressed the ongoing refugee crisis in the Mediterranean basin and at the borders of Europe, persecution of minorities, climate change, sustainable development, and international political and security issues ranging from poverty reduction to the recently-reached nuclear agreement between the so-called P5+1 nations including the United States, and Iran.

Ban called on European leaders to increase their efforts to help and welcome migrants and refugees, saying, “I commend the leadership and global solidarity the European leaders are showing, but at the same time, in view of the gravity and the scale of this crisis, I would naturally expect that European leaders should do more.” On the closely related issue of ongoing war in Syria and persecution of religious and ethnic minorities – especially Christians – throughout the whole Mideast region and beyond, Ban said, “There should be no such discrimination – against anybody – on the basis of any criteria of religion or ethnicity – and it is totally unacceptable to persecute, to discriminate [against] people on the basis of their beliefs – on the basis of who you love, what you believe.” Ban went on to say, “Migrants and refugees should be treated humanely, responsibly, under the international refugee convention, international humanitarian laws, and international human rights laws.” The UN Secretary-General went on to renew his call on European nations, especially, to show enlightened and humane leadership.

“Therefore, I am urging European leaders – again – that they should open borders and provide necessary, life-saving humanitarian assistance: we have to show the compassion to these people,” Ban said. Discussing Iran, Ban reiterated his support for the agreement, his confidence in its ability to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and his hope that all parties will ratify. He also renewed his assurances that the United Nations stands ready to help guarantee the terms of the agreement are respected. “The United Nations [remains ready] to assist in the implementation of this process in monitoring and verification by the International Atomic Energy Agency,” said Ban. Click below to hear UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s extended conversation with Paolo Mastrolilli in exclusive for Vatican Radio

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