Cyprus expressed deep appreciation and commends the Delegation of Iran for having inscribed the item Dialogue Among Civilizations.
Considering the state of world affairs, the historic juncture mankind finds itself, and the fact that in recent years most conflicts used the threat of diversity as justification for conflict, the timing for consideration by the General Assembly of this item could not have been opportune.
A new millennium is dawning. We are at the threshold of a new set of a thousand years of what is expected to be of unprecedented technological advance and interdependence, where every action or inaction, and every human interchange will be even more than today globalized, radiating instantly its impact to the four corners of the earth.
Our world, in a way, is getting smaller and the distances seem to be of no consequence. We are becoming a global village, a miniscule part of the infinite universe. As such, it would be expected that, like water running to water, we would draw closer together, man closer to his fellow man and nations closer to nations, accepting and appreciating our diversity and pluralism, the “harmony of differences,” as the relevant article in the General Assembly resolution 51/95 call it.
Instead, we are witnessing an ominous anachronism, a contradiction, where separatism, division, partition, and segregation are pursued instead of unity and integration. These separatist trends, especially when militant, form the root causes of internal strives and could pose threats to regional and even international peace and security.
It was stated in the Secretary-General’s interim report on the subject, by the representative of the Secretary-General for the year of dialogue Among Civilizations, that the majority of recent conflicts where the UN Peace Keeping Operations take place, are based on ethnic, tribal, or religious grounds. Mr. Giandomenico Picco, the wise and learned personal representative of the Secretary-General stresses the need to promote an understanding of, and dealing with the root causes of conflicts in our turbulent world, and adds, what I consider to be the gist of the subject matter, that “just as during the ’90’s many who went to war use the threat of diversity as justification for conflict, perhaps in the future those who seek peace will use the spirit of Dialogue Among Civilizations as means to move forward.”
Promoting understanding, tolerance and cooperation through dialogue is not only an ideal policy, it is also the choice for survival.
Having experienced much destruction and human misery in the present millennium, common sense dictates that the calamities, the horrors of wars, which we have brought upon us in the past, be avoided and that peace and cooperation replace confrontations and wars.
The Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly resolution on the culture of Tolerance and the Declaration of Culture of Peace, consider Dialogue as the sine qua non means for harmonizing human relations.
We consider, therefore, the initiative of the President of Iran, wise and visionary. It seeks to institutionalize Dialogue Among Peoples of different cultures and civilizations, accepting and appreciating the diversity and the beauty of difference in culture. We need to inform from each other, and address concerns that portray specific religions and cultures as threats to peace and coexistence. Our survival ultimately will depend on our success to promote dialogue as the accepted mode of behavior in settling differences and disputes in accordance with the UN Charter.
It is through dialogue that my Government is committed to solve the problem of Cyprus. As a matter of fact, such dialogue is being held presently at the Headquarters of the United Nations, a vivid example of our adherence to the spirit of dialogue and the Charter. We strive for a peaceful solution, where the two communities may again live in peace and harmony, as they have done for centuries in the past.
It is with these thoughts in mind that we have cosponsored this year’s draft resolution A/54/L.60 and we, along with other member states, will participate in making the year 2001 as the “UN Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations.”
Thank you, Mr. President.