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Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Kabul (BNA) H.E Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, was eager to participate in today’s meeting.
Due to his pre- arranged engagement he is not able to be here today and it is my honor to deliver the following statement on his behalf:
Dear Brother Your Excellency Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
Excellency, Secretary General of the United Nations, Distinguished High Representative, Mr. Sampaio, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Unfortunately, due to my pre- arranged engagement I will not able be here today, in this diverse gathering of cultures and communities of a close group of friends, who are committed to strengthening international partnerships and generating new ideas aimed at a noble objective-advancing dialogue, cooperation and understanding among the world’s many cultures, religions and civilizations.
I instructed Mr. Erfani to deliver the following statement on his behalf:
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me express my sincere gratitude to our dear brother H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey, for his leadership in hosting this very timely and important forum for our Alliance in the beautiful city of Istanbul, the city that provides us with a living example of a diverse civilization and an ideal symbol of the efforts to advance the complex challenges our societies face today.
Seven years ago in 2005, the Alliance of Civilizations was founded on the belief that alleviating divisions and misperceptions across cultures, religions and civilizations would benefit sustainable peace and prosperity across the globe.
Since its inception, the Alliance has become the major international initiative supporting all efforts towards preventing tension and conflict, developing intercultural dialogue and cooperation, and promoting peace and stability at the regional and global levels.
Through the four previous sessions in Madrid, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, and last December in Qatar, the Alliance successfully identified practical initiatives for cross-cultural cooperation, aimed at finding practical solutions to our most pressing challenges such as polarization, poverty, and extremism.
Our efforts have shown that through tolerance, respect and co-existence, a safer, and more secure and prosperous world can be achieved.
The positive atmosphere created by global initiatives working towards intercultural peace and dialogue such as the Alliance, has been playing a vital role in tackling the dangerous effects of intolerance, discrimination, and xenophobia.
Nevertheless, we are still at the beginning of our long and important journey to reach the noble objectives of our Alliance-the objective of achieving an environment where all peoples of our globalized world appreciate each other’s differences based on the principle of mutual respect, and work together, leveraging the strength of our diversity to promote a prosperous future for all peoples.
Today, our globalized world is witness to numerous challenges and conflicts, many of which arise from extremist ideologies and theories that misuse, abuse and target race, culture, religion, and civilizations.
They also exploit hatred, intolerance, and confrontation. The solution to these challenges will be found by getting to an open, inclusive and honest dialogue between different beliefs, cultures and civilizations.
These are not always easy conversations, but we must encourage this dialogue, and we must do a better job to prevent extremism and fanaticism not only in words but far more importantly also in deeds.
Therefore, this Forum offers another opportunity to provide new momentum to fight these challenges and contribute to our common aspirations for peaceful co-existence, security, development and global prosperity.
Mr. President
My country Afghanistan has historically been a meeting point for different cultures and civilizations, a country where for centuries people from different backgrounds and beliefs lived side by side in peace and solidarity.
Our rich and proud cultural diversity today is a direct fruit of our historical position as the crossroads of most of the world’s major civilizations, past and present.
We are also fully determined to move past the painful legacy of the past three decades of war in Afghanistan that has had multiple regional dimensions, and strengthen confidence and cooperation in our region through sincere and result-oriented cooperation.
Afghanistan is fully committed to the objectives of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
This commitment is based on our own experience, as a country that is being supported by a broad coalition of friends who have stood by the Afghan people as we strive to overcome decades of conflict, and achieve lasting peace and stability.
This coalition spans across continents, and includes a wide array of partners from distinct national and cultural backgrounds who are providing civilian, military, financial and moral support for Afghanistan.
Afghanistan, with the assistance of the international community, has made historic progress toward ensuring peace and security, and strengthening economic and social development.
We have begun to develop National Plans to address many of our primary challenges, including illiteracy, unemployment, poverty, and underdevelopment, as well as to combat imported radical ideologies, strengthen a national consensus on how to promote reconciliation and reintegration for our peace and security. We want to educate our children with the virtues of tolerance and openness, strengthen a functional and responsible and free media, a vibrant civil society and create the conditions for a secure, safe and responsible integration of our returnees, which are among the central ideals of the Alliance of Civilizations.
Afghanistan, as a member of the Group of Friends of the Alliance, reiterates its commitments to the implementation of the goals and principles of the Alliance of Civilizations. As we heard from President Sampaio this morning, the Alliance is facing several challenges including the need for financial resources and ongoing support from the generous contributions from the Friends of the Alliance.
Despite our own financial situation, as a sign of commitment to the success of Alliance goals, my government has decided to make a symbolic contribution (equivalent 500,000 Afghani) to the Trust Fund of the Alliance of Civilization.
Furthermore, Afghanistan supports all other initiatives that strengthen and promote dialogue among civilizations including the newly established center in Vienna of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Dialogue, which will serve as a permanent platform for enhancing this important dialogue.
In conclusion Mr. President,
On behalf of the Government of Afghanistan, I would like to thank H.E. President Jorge Sampaio, High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), for his continued and tireless efforts to promote the noble goals of our Alliance.
Let us use this opportunity to once again reaffirm our mutual commitment to these goals, and work to implement the AoC ideals so that we can leave our children a more unified and tolerant world that finds strength, rather than conflict, in its diversity.
Thank you.


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