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12 NOVEMBER 2008
PGMA RALLIES WORLD LEADERS ON INTERFAITH DIALOGUE FOR PEACE
NEW YORK--President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made the strongest pitch ever to world leaders gathered here at the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly to embrace the power of dialogue for peace, development and human dignity.
Speaking at the meeting of the General Assembly on Agenda Item 45: Culture of Peace, President Arroyo urged member nations to adopt Draft Resolution No. A/63/L24.Rev 1 entitled "Promotion of Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, Understanding and Cooperation for Peace."
The UN resolution, which embodies an important step towards forging greater global understanding, harmony and cooperation through interreligious and intercultural dialogue, was jointly authored by the Philippines and Pakistan, with 60 member-states signing-in as co-sponsors
"This resolution is the affirmation that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute an important part of the alliance of civilizations and of a culture of peace," the President said.
She added the resolution encourages the promotion of dialogue among the media from all cultures and civilizations, emphasizes right to freedom of expression, and affirms that the exercise of this right carries with it duties and responsibilities.
"The adoption of this resolution will demonstrate once again our solidarity for the promotion of interfaith dialogue as a powerful aid
The President said the resolution has seen its particular relevance to the United Nations under the current leadership of Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon who, for the first time in UN history, has issued a report on interreligious and intercultural activities.
In her statement, the President also praised King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia for drawing attention to the World Conference on Dialogue held in Madrid last May, where the Saudi King and King Juan Carlos of Spain brought together Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and representatives of other religions in the hope of promoting understanding and tolerance among followers of the world's faiths.
The Philippines, being a leading proponent of global interfaith dialogue, has been pushing for this initiative as demonstrated by its effort to strengthen the Bishop and Ulama Conference (BUC) as its format for local interfaith dialogue.
The BUC is a movement of Catholic and Christian bishops and Muslim ulamas in Mindanao which was organized to promote mutual understanding of faiths and religions for peace.###
ELMER G. CATO Second Secretary & Press Officer Philippine Mission to the United Nations 556 Fifth Avenue, Fifth Floor New York, New York 10036 Tel. No. 212.764.1300 Extension 38
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