.- The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., confirmed recent rumors that Pope Benedict XVI has accepted an invitation to visit United Nations headquarters in New York City.
In a short press conference yesterday afternoon Fr. Lombardi announced that “The Pope has accepted the invitation in general terms, and has expressed his willingness to visit the U.N. headquarters, although as yet there is no date or program for the trip.”
The invitation was extended by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on his recent audience with the Holy Father.
Several news sources reported Ban’s declaration yesterday that the Pope had accepted his invite.
Servant of God John Paul II visited the U.N. headquarters in 1979, and again in 1995 for the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the organization.
The Vatican said that during last week's 20-minute private meeting in the pope's library, Ban and Benedict "dwelled on topics of common interest," including strengthening dialogue between cultures and how the Holy See might contribute to solving international conflicts.