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UN chief meets Pope for the first time

UN chief meets with Pope Benedict XVI for the first time since he took charge of the world body.

world Updated: Apr 20, 2007 08:24 IST

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has met with Pope Benedict XVI for the first time since the South Korean took charge of the world body and invited the pontiff to visit its New York headquarters.

"Mr Ban Ki-moon had wanted to meet the Holy Father during the course of his his first tours of Africa, Europe and the Middle East just a few months after taking charge on January 1," a Vatican statement said.

It said Ban also expressly "invited the Pope to visit the UN headquarters."

The two men held closed-door talks for about 20 minutes on Wednesday in the pontiff's library and the discussions were held in English, it said, adding that Ban had been warmly recieved by the pope.

They discussed a slew of issues of "common interest" - ranging from multilateralism, reinforcing dialogue between diverse cultures and the role the Roman Catholic Church can play in helping the UN to resolve conflicts."

Ban arrived in Rome on Tuesday where he met President Giorgio Napolitano and Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema. He goes on to Switzerland for his first official visit to the Alpine nation and then on to Qatar and Syria.