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Annan Laudes Pope Uniter Of Diverse Peoples


Annan Attends Pope’s Funeral, Lauding Him As Uniter Of Diverse Peoples

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II in the Vatican City today, praising the pontiff as “one of the greatest spiritual figures of our time” and joining hundreds of thousands of people gathered there in reflection and prayer.

“He was a man of faith, of action, capable of uniting the most diverse people,” Mr. Annan told reporters at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport as he left to return to Geneva, where he is to chair a twice-yearly meeting of his Chief Executives Board comprising the heads of the UN system of organizations.

At UN Headquarters in New York the world body’s flag flew at half mast in tribute to the late Pope.

On Monday, Mr. Annan will address the opening in Oslo, Norway, of a donor conference for Sudan, organized by the Norwegian Government to support rehabilitation in the south of Africa’s largest country. A peace agreement in January ended two decades of war there between Government and rebel forces.

The region suffers from extreme lack of infrastructure and basic services due to the conflict and major investment is needed to rehabilitate communities, especially as some 500,000 refugees and 4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) are expected to eventually return to their homes.


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