This year's International Day of Friendship comes at a time of widespread war, violence and mistrust in many parts of the world. People who have previously lived in harmony find themselves in conflict with their neighbours; people who have no choice but to live together find themselves ever farther apart.
Whatever the cause, and however powerful the forces that drive animosity and armed violence, the human spirit is potentially much stronger. It is our solemn duty to see that it prevails.
In these difficult and unpredictable times, it is vital that we reach out to one another in order to prevent conflict and build the long-term foundations of lasting peace.
On this International Day of Friendship, let us remember the ties that bind us together, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or borders. Let us cultivate solidarity as a single human family on our one and only planet. Let us pursue true and lasting friendship.