Vatican official praises Nobel peace prize award to Kofi Annan
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Vatican's permanent observer at the UN headquarters in Geneva, told Vatican Radio that the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations and its secretary-general, Kofi Annan, is an important omen for the future of the institution.
Archbishp Martin said: "The global world will increasingly need a world organization in which all states are represented."
In awarding the prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee praised the organisation of 189 nations and Annan for working for peace in the world, stating that the 63-year-old secretary-general has injected "new life" into the United Nations and has struggled for human rights and against AIDS and international terrorism.
Archbishop Martin said that, when the Pope addressed the United Nations in 1995 on the role of this institution, he said that it "must be not only the center of activity for the resolution of conflicts, but also to promote values, attitudes and initiatives of solidarity."
"Certainly, in contributing to peace there have also been dark moments in the history of the United Nations," the archbishop explained. "But it is necessary to recall that it is a multilateral and intergovernmental organization, and its policies are linked to the policies of the states and great powers."
Kofi Annan and the UN were awarded the prize ahead of Pope John Paul II, who had also been considered a strong possibility for the award.