EU leaders, US president Obama and UN chief congratulate new Pope Francis

Among the first to congratulate Argentinean cardinal Jorge Bergoglio on becoming Pope Francis I on March 13 2013 were the European Union’s two most senior office-bearers and United States president Barack Obama.

In a joint message of congratulations, European Council President Herman van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Barroso told Pope Francis, “we wish you a long and blessed Pontificate, which will allow Your Holiness and the Catholic Church to defend and promote the fundamental values of peace, solidarity and human dignity. They are essential sign posts in a world facing numerous challenges and undergoing deep change.

“We are convinced that Your Holiness will continue to further with determination and strength the work of Your predecessors by bringing the world’s people and religions closer together,” Van Rompuy and Barroso said.

US president Obama extended warm wishes to the new Pope, adding that the choice of a Latin American “speaks to the strength and vitality” of the Americas, the Voice of America said.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has offered his heartfelt congratulations to Pope Francis on his assumption of the papacy, and to all Roman Catholics across the world on the occasion of the election of the new Pontiff.

“I look forward to continuing cooperation between the United Nations and the Holy See, under the wise leadership of His Holiness Pope Francis,” Ban said in a statement issued immediately after the announcement was made at the Vatican, the UN News Centre said.

“We share many common goals – from the promotion of peace, social justice and human rights, to the eradication of poverty and hunger – all core elements of sustainable development,” Ban said.

“We also share the conviction that we can only resolve the interconnected challenges of today’s world through dialogue. I am certain that His Holiness will continue to build on the legacy of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, in the promotion of inter-faith dialogue which is at the heart of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative,” the UN Secretary-General said.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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