November 25, 2017

Statement by the Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Constantine Moushoutas at the Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly – Dialogue among Civilizations

We wish to express our appreciation and commend the delegation of Iran for the inscription in the General Assembly the important item “Dialogue Among Civilizations”. We regard the inscription timely and the idea visionary. Considering the fact that recently many conflicts use diversity as an excuse for conflict, the opportunity offered at this historic period for mankind, to renew our resolve to promote dialogue, which forms the cornerstone of the UN Charter.

We are well advanced into a new century and a new millennium. We should visualize a world even more interdependent and technologically advanced than the present, where every aspect of human interchange, political, economic and social is globalized. Societies and Cultures are not and cannot be isolated entities. A local crisis in a place far removed from our borders or shores, unfailingly and immediately affects us all. We are part, it seems, of the same “global village”, where our actions or omissions, our deeds or misdeeds, are affecting everyday life everywhere. Distances are disappearing and close interaction, at lightning speeds, is ever present and ever growing.

In such a world, promoting cooperation, tolerance and understanding through dialogue, among and within countries, cultures and religions is not only a good policy: It is an imperative choice for survival, especially in light of ominous predictions by some of “clashes of civilizations”.

The world has experienced much destruction and human misery in the last century. The twentieth century has been marked more by rivalry than cooperation. It has been correctly observed that the majority of conflicts where UN peacekeeping operations take place are based on ethnic, tribal or religious grounds. Militant separatism forms one of the root causes of conflicts in our turbulent world. “Just as in the 90’s, many who went to war use the threat of diversity as justification for conflict” said Mr. Giandomenico Picco. “Perhaps in the future, those who seek peace will use the spirit of Dialogue Among Civilizations as means to move forward.” Common sense dictates that the calamities, which we have brought upon us in the past (and present), be avoided and that peace and cooperation replace confrontations and wars.

It is imperative, therefore, that we strengthen the bonds of common destiny of mankind. The item under consideration aims at this lofty goal. The Charter of the UN considers dialogue as the sine qua non means for harmonizing human relations and solving differences in State relations, which are bound to arise. The Charter, furthermore, places dialogue in the highest peak of human endeavours, aimed at the effective solution of international problems.

As we have said in previous debates on this important item, we consider the initiative of H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khatami, the President of Iran, wise and timely. We must institutionalize dialogue among peoples of different cultures and civilizations, if we are to serve the cause of peace and justice. The many positive and mutually beneficial interactions among civilizations must be underlined and form the basis of educating the young. Due respect for others’ cultures, religions and values, must be imbedded in their minds.

We need to inform of the benefits of cultural pluralism and the enrichment of civilizations from each other. It is time also to address concerns at tendencies to portray specific religions and cultures as threat to peace and coexistence.

Our survival ultimately depends on our success to convince the international community to peacefully settle differences and disputes through dialogue in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter, and to promote dialogue as the accepted mode of behaviour.

It is through dialogue that my Government is committed to solve the problem of Cyprus. We strive for a peaceful solution, where the two communities can live in peace and harmony as they have done for centuries in the past, without occupation troops and barb wires.

It is with these thoughts in mind that we have again cosponsored the resolution A/55/L.30 introduced by Iran. It contains the necessary elements for promoting dialogue among civilizations by organizing and implementing cultural, educational and social programmes by Governments and non-governmental organizations.

We intend to fully participate in the programmes proposed for the year 2001, the “Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations”, thus supporting the initiative which so wisely was presented to us.