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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
Dr. Alberto G. Romulo
Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines


Luncheon in honor of H.E. Mr. Abdoulaye Wade
President of the Republic of Senegal
21 September, Millennium Hotel, New York

Your Excellency, President Abdoulaye Wade
Madam Viviane Wade
The Honorable Members of the Delegation of Senegal
Ladies and Gentlemen

I am profoundly happy to be with you today.

Mr. President, My President, Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is unable to be with us today, has asked me to tender this luncheon in your honor for three reasons.

First, to express our deep gratitude for accepting my President’s invitation to serve as the Keynote Speaker at today’s High Level Conference on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace.

Second, to congratulate you for the awards given two days ago by the Celebrate Africa Foundation to you and Senegal as the “Best Country in Africa in 2006.”

Third, to express our appreciation for Senegal’s staunch support for the interfaith initiatives of the Philippines. With your steadfast support, we are moving forward in building greater peace, understanding and tolerance through interfaith dialogue and cooperation for peace.

Your address this morning, Mr. President, was inspiring. Your views bare the reasons why you were awarded the UNESCO Peace Award last year.

The Philippines and Senegal have many things in common, in addition to our unqualified commitment to interfaith dialogue and cooperation.

We are both actively engaged in the war against terrorism.

We both value the civil and political rights of our citizens.

We treasure gender equality manifested by a woman Prime Minister of Senegal and two women Presidents of the Philippines.

We both faithfully observe religious tolerance: Senegal being 95% Muslim and 5% Christian, the Philippines being 90% Christian and 10% Muslim, with the minorities holding or having held important positions in government.

We give importance to good governance. We are both committed to democratic ideals.

Mr. President, the international community awaits with interest the Christianity-Islam Summit you will organize next year. Please count on our support for that important initiative.

We will also soon organize a Special Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace in the Philippines. Indeed our initiatives are mutually reinforcing.

Our partnership is a powerful expression of the tradition of cooperation that can trace its roots back to Bandung and the Asia-Africa Conference. It is a tradition that we are keeping alive. It is a tradition that will help both our continents face the many challenges of a changing world.

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, may I invite you to rise and toast for the good health of President Wade and Madam Wade, for their continued success in leading Senegal as the light of hope in these troubled times, and for the continued friendships between our peoples and the close partnership of our two governments.

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