Istanbul: Arab News
Published — Friday 1 June 2012
Last update 1 June 2012 7:57 pm
Saudi Arabia yesterday urged nations to trust one another for the sake of peace and stability in the world. “We are looking forward to a world where understanding and dialogue based on mutual respect of nations and cultures prevail,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah.
“The main basis of the Kingdom’s foreign policy is to establish world peace and stability, keeping away from using force and violence to solve conflicts,” Prince Abdul Aziz told the Partners Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations.
He highlighted the initiative taken by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to promote interfaith and intercultural dialogue. Under the initiative of King Abdullah, three major interfaith dialogue conferences were held in Makkah, Madrid and at the United Nations.
“To crown all these efforts, Saudi Arabia, Austria and Spain jointly signed an agreement to establish the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna,” the minister told the conference.
He said the center would work for promoting interfaith and cultural dialogue and encouraging mutual respect and understanding among the various faiths. “It will also work for establishing peace and justice and prevent misuse of religion for oppression and violence,” he said.
Prince Abdul Aziz announced a donation of $1 million to the Partners Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the event. Speaking at the event, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the need for tolerance and cooperation among countries. “This is an era of great transitions, and by their very definition, transitions bring forth tensions and expose hidden fault lines,” he said. Launched in 2005 through the initiative of Spain and Turkey under the auspices of the UN, the alliance seeks to promote better cross-cultural relations worldwide. The forum, which is being convened by Erdogan, seeks to broaden public and private support for the initiative.
The UN chief emphasized that the need for unity in the international community is particularly urgent in Syria, which has seen renewed violence over the past week resulting in the deaths of more than 100 civilians, including children.
“In these difficult times, in the face of humankind's terrible capacity for inhumanity, it is all the more important for those of us here today to take a clear and principled stand,” he said. “To speak out, and more, to act in the cause of peace, tolerance and harmony among people,” he added.
Also yesterday, Nizar Obaid Madani, state minister for foreign affairs, denounced the Houla massacre in Syria targeting civilians and urged the international community to punish those who committed the crime.
Speaking at the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum in Tunis, Madani urged China to play an important role to stop the bloodbath in Syria and denounce human rights violations in that country.