Pope to address refugee crisis

2015-09-10 17:00
(Andrew Medichini, AP)

(Andrew Medichini, AP)

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New York - Pope Francis is expected to focus on the need for peace in a conflict-torn world facing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II when he addresses the UN later this month, the Holy See said on Wednesday.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican's apostolic nuncio and UN ambassador, said the pope's address, in his native Spanish, to the 193-member General Assembly on 25 September will likely stress poverty and bad government as drivers of conflict and migration.

Migrants 'an international issue'

He said the plight of migrants seeking safety and a new life will be touched on in the pope's UN speech because "it's an international issue."

He said Francis' 2 1/2-hour visit to the UN will be the fifth by a pope and the shortest because of time constraints.

Auza also said the pope will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Alexey Zaytsev, spokesman for Russia's UN Mission told AP: "From what we know President Putin is not here on 25 September." Putin has met the pope at least twice previously.

Auza said the pope is expected to express appreciation in his General Assembly speech for the UN role in trying to minimise conflict and alleviate suffering - but he said the world body has also seen "lots of failures."

"There is no greater failure of the UN than to be incapable, unable to prevent what is going on in the Middle East now and North Africa," the archbishop said.

Immediately after he leaves UN headquarters, Francis will head to the site where the World Trade Center stood before the 11 September, 2001 attacks, a visit Auza said the pope insisted upon.

During his UN visit, Francis will have a one-on-one meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and then a larger meeting with UN and Vatican officials, Auza said.

He will then address UN staff members and hold private meetings with the outgoing and incoming assembly presidents, Auza said.

Read more on:    un  |  pope francis  |  us  |  migrants

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