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Marking International Friendship Day, UN chief urges global amity.

UN News - Mon, Aug 1st 2011

On the first International Day of Friendship, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the global community to work together to build a peaceful, more prosperous world, where old friendships flourish and new ones are made.

“Friendship harmony tolerance mutual respect and mutual concern – these concepts are part of the Organization's [United Nations] very fibre,” said Mr. Ban. “They inform our activities, from peacekeeping and defending human rights to our collective efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“And they are now the focus of the International Day of Friendship, a new observance established by the General Assembly in a resolution that highlights the potential of friendship to 'build bridges' and 'inspire peace efforts',” he said.

Mr. Ban recalled that the UN Charter proclaims that one of the purposes of the UN 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), he added, also stressed the need for peace based not only on the “political and economic arrangements of Governments,” but on the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.”

The Secretary-General said individual friendships brought humans face to face with diversity and different points of view, as well as joy and support, notwithstanding the tests that can encumber even the best of relationships.

“The same pillars that support sturdy personal friendships – trust, respect, mutually beneficial decision-making – also have an important place in the community of nations,” he said.

He quoted the late Woodrow Wilson, a former President of the United States, who once said: “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”

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