Archbishop of Canterbury to address UN Security Council

Archbishop Justin Welby will address the UN Security Council later this month in a debate on 'mediation and its role in conflict prevention'.

He will be the first Archbishop of Canterbury to address the council, according to the Anglican Communion News Service.

Lambeth PalaceThe Archbishop of Canterbury is to address the UN Security Council.

Welby has extensive experience of international mediation and is a member of UN secretary seneral António Guterres' High Level Advisory Board on Mediation.

The UK's ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, told journalists at a press conference Welby had 'a particular offering to make'. 'We wanted to have a briefer who we hope Council members will enjoy hearing from,' she said. 'I have heard the Archbishop speak; I think he will be a very good contributor.

'I do know that he comes often to the United Nations and takes his contribution to it seriously.'

She added: 'He makes frequent visits to New York [and] is very interested in the work of the United Nations. I had a very good chat with him before I took up my job as ambassador.'

The event on August 29 is one of two 'discretionary events' organised by the UK during during its presidency of the UN in August.

Pierce said: 'Over the years, the UN has been increasing the amount of effort it puts into mediation. I think everybody agrees there is still more that could be done there: there is more that we can do to share best practice; there is more we can do to talk about what works.

'A lot of countries – both off and on the [Security] Council – have very personal experiences of how mediation has helped resolve conflict or see off the threat of conflict and we want to tap into that knowledge.'

The Anglican Communion has official observer status with the United Nations.

The Communion's representative to the UN, Jack Palmer-White, said the invitation to address the Security Council was 'a really exciting and significant moment'.