• UN chief urges all people worldwide to reach out to one another as friends


    UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged all people to reach out to one another as friends and build long-term foundations for lasting peace in the current time of mistrust and violence, with previously harmonious neighbors warring.

    Marking the International Day of Friendship, the UN chief said that whatever the cause or however powerful the animosity, the human spirit must prevail.

    “Let us remember the ties that bind us together, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or borders,” Ban said in his message for the International Day. “Let us cultivate solidarity as a single human family on our one and only planet.”

    This year’s message includes a nod to Ban’s environmental priority, ahead of a climate summit that he is due to host in September at the UN Headquarters in New York. The secretary-general is inviting heads of state and government along with private sector and civil society leaders to showcase initiatives and forge alliances that can help launch a sustainable future.

    The summit aims to generate ambitious action on the ground and raise momentum for a new climate treaty in 2015, which is expected to be adopted at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting next year in Paris.

    In May 2011, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution designating July 30 as International Day of Friendship, in recognition of friendship’s potential to contribute to the efforts of the world community to promote dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.

    The concept of friendship is one of the founding principles of the UN family. The UN Charter proclaims that one of the purposes of the Organization is “to develop friendly relations among nations,” words that also appear in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    The constitution of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) also stresses the need for peace based not only on the political and economic arrangements of governments, but on the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.” PNA


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