.- On Friday, the final day of a high-level United Nations summit held in New York, Vatican Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano told participants that the aging U.N. needs to be renewed to face the "challenges of the present day" and called for new peacekeeping initiatives to be implemented. The Cardinal addressed the Plenary Meeting of the 60th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which brought together some 170 national leaders and heads of state from around the globe from September 14th through the 16th.
Cardinal Sodano, who delivered his address in French, said that the UN "is an institution that is ever more necessary for the peace and progress of the whole of humanity." Nonetheless, he added, "time has taken its toll upon this agency, as upon every human undertaking." Therefore, it "needs to be renewed, in response to the great challenges of the present day."
He emphasized how the juridical framework of the United Nations Statute "must be complemented by the necessary international juridical instruments for disarmament and the control of arms, for the fight against terrorism and international crime and for effective cooperation between the United Nations and regional agencies, in order to resolve situations of conflict."
Turing to the much-needed issue of peacekeeping, the secretary of State said that the Holy See "is in favor of the creation of an agency to restore peace to countries that have suffered armed conflicts. The Holy See, in other words, is in favor of the 'Peacebuilding Commission,' intended to design and implement an ambitious strategy to overcome those elements of ethnic rivalry which give rise to conflicts and which could re-ignite them in the future."
The Cardinal also called for what he called profound reflection on "the problem of the use of force to disarm the aggressor," calling on States to discuss the application and practical consequences of the principle of "responsibility to protect," in order to solve, in "the most opportune" way, situations "in which national authorities either cannot or will not protect their own populations, in the face of internal or external threats."
Despite "promising gestures" from various governments, Cardinal Sodano continued, "much work remains to be done in order to achieve greater economic and financial solidarity," with many of the world's poorest nations.
"This must include", he said, "a solution to the debt problem of the poorest countries and of average-income countries with serious foreign debt problems."
The Cardinal concluded saying that the Vatican "reaffirms its full support for the objectives of this summit and undertakes to do what it can to help the summit produce the desired fruits rapidly so that an era of peace and social justice may quickly follow. The words spoken by the late Pope John Paul II ... in 1987 have lost none of their relevance: 'the poor cannot wait!'."