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Congratulations to Ban Ki-Moon

16 October 2006

16 October 2006 

Dear Mr. Secretary General Elect,

We are delighted by the news of your election as Secretary General of the United Nations and extend to you our warm congratulations. 

The World Council of Churches has followed with deep interest the developments at the United Nations since its inception, having itself come into being as a fellowship of the Churches around the world in the year 1948, with similar objectives of promoting international peace and security, fundamental human rights, practice of tolerance and promotion of economic and social advancement of all peoples.. 

You come into your new high office with a rich experience spread over a broad spectrum of international concerns ranging from Nuclear Test Ban Treaty to the reunification of the Korean Peninsula and its people. You bring to your office the benefit of being an international diplomat as well as a renowned civil servant who will pay equal attention to the needs of all member states of the United Nations, be they big or small. 

Sir, you take the mantle of your office at a most difficult moment in the life of the United Nations Organisation, and indeed, at a time of unprecedented complexity in world affairs. The expectations of the role you will play are not only high, but also contradictory. In these circumstances, we assure you of our prayers and support.  

One of the important tasks that face you is the reform of the United Nations. This, no doubt will receive your urgent attention and action. The international community has in recent times expressed its concern about the urgency of carrying out these reforms.  

Commenting on the need for reform of the United Nations, the statement of the IX WCC Assembly at Porto Alegre in February 2006, called on all states to ensure the ongoing participation of civil society organisations and faith communities in the work of the UN, at local and international levels as a means of encouraging transparency and accountability as well as means of availing itself of essential expertise and information. The role of religions and religious organisations in addressing issues of security, human rights, development and the growing interplay between religion and politics should be particularly taken note of. 

It would be an honour for me to extend to you in person our congratulations and to exchange views about how the World Council of Churches and its more than 340 member churches can assist and support you in your new responsibilities. My colleagues in our Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) in New York will be in contact with your office early in the new year to consult with respect to such an opportunity, at the United Nations Headquarters, or on the occasion of an early visit by you to Geneva.  

May our Lord's blessings be with you as you prepare to assume your new responsibilities. 

Yours respectfully, 

Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia
General Secretary

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