Sprague, Jackson meet with U.N. secretary-general
3/28/2003 News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 · New York
NOTE: Head-and-shoulders photographs of Bishop C. Joseph Sprague and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan are available.
YORK (UMNS) - United Methodist Bishop C. Joseph Sprague of Chicago and
the Rev. Jesse Jackson met March 27 with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan to discuss the war in Iraq.
"We talked about several issues
that are of deep concern to us and, we believe, to the whole church
community," Sprague told United Methodist News Service as he waited for a
flight at LaGuardia Airport after the meeting.
The bishop, who
recently preached at Jackson's Rainbow/Push Coalition headquarters in
Chicago, was invited by Jackson to accompany him to the United Nations.
topic of discussion with Annan and his staff was the need for the
Geneva Convention to be honored during the war in Iraq. "We want to be
certain that POWs are treated as international law mandates," Sprague
explained. Some in the church community, he added, have expressed an
interest in visiting with prisoners of war on both sides.
religious leaders also expressed deep concern about getting food and
water to the Iraqi people, particularly the children. "I want to know
what's going to be done and what the church can do to assist with the
whole business of humanitarian aid," Sprague said.
The bishop said Annan assured the pair that "the U.N. is poised to deliver" such aid, but needs access to do so.
secretary-general also met March 27 with British Prime Minister Tony
Blair to discuss the issue of humanitarian aid in Iraq. The U.N.
Security Council has been considering the reauthorization of the Iraqi
oil for food program.
Both Sprague and Jackson told Annan they
believe it is not too late to broker a peace agreement in Iraq, despite
the ongoing war.
"We surely received encouragement from the
secretary-general for church communities to lift a voice for peace,"
Sprague said. He added that anyone who believes in a God of
reconciliation "must advocate for and be open to possibilities beyond
our comprehension. We must never give up."
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