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

Philippine Statement
Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines


First Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace
21 September 2006, UN Headquarters, New York


I wish to thank you all for your presence at this First Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace. Our meeting draws its mandate from the Declaration adopted by the Informal Meeting of our Leaders on 13 September 2005. In that declaration, our Leaders tasked us - “to take stock of the progress of our work on the enhanced promotion of a culture of peace through inter-faith, inter-cultural and inter-civilizational dialogue and cooperation.”

I also wish to welcome the Foreign Ministers and envoys from the observer delegations, present this morning.

Excellencies, you have before you the draft Ministerial Statement which our ambassadors and experts in New York prepared for our consideration and adoption.

I would like to express appreciation for the flexibility of delegations on the draft Ministerial Statement, whose proposals to strengthen the text were not taken on board for lack of time for further consultations. As it stands, this Ministerial Statement can serve as the springboard for further and more intense cooperation. We appreciate and understand the desire of others to include additional thoughts and ideas in this document. These concerns can be addressed as we fine-tune our approaches as we move forward.

Excellencies, after having been briefed by your senior officials, I commend the draft Ministerial Statement for our adoption. (Pause) It is so decided. Thank you.

In view of the limited time at our disposal, I suggest that we enjoy our breakfast while we conduct our interactive dialogue. Kindly make your comments brief to give a chance for others to speak. You may wish to touch on any specific part of the Ministerial Statement of interest to you.

But before that, I would like to propose that we rotate the stewardship of our Group on an annual basis. I would, therefore, welcome an offer to shepherd our Group next year.

I would also like to suggest that we agree on an informal title for our Group – one that could readily identify us and which captures the loose and informal nature of our cooperation. I welcome your suggestions. I am tempted to call our Group the “Interfaith Dialogue Process for Peace.” But I am sure you will have better suggestions.

Those who wish to speak may kindly raise their country nameplates. We will welcome comments from our observers after the participants. Before I open the floor, may I invite the President of the General Assembly to share with us her thoughts.

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