President, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka and Thailand for inviting me to participate in this meeting on the International Day of Vesak.
I have very fond memories of celebrating Vesak during my postings in Sri Lanka and India. It’s a privilege for me to be taking part in the international recognition of the most sacred day in the calendar of Buddhists around the world, including in my own country Norway.
As we commemorate the day honoring the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha, I also wish to extend my warmest wishes to the hundreds of millions of people who follow his teachings and who celebrate Vesak.
During this time we are reminded of and reflect on the universality of Buddha’s teachings of peace and tolerance, compassion for and service to others, and striving for true happiness. Buddha’s message has had and continues to have a profound impact on how we think about life and morality, also for those of us who are not Buddhists.
Norway was a proud co-sponsor at the 54th General Assembly of the resolution to mark this day on the calendar of the UN. It is only fitting that at the United Nations, where our shared objectives reflect many of the same ideas, that we recognize this day.