Statement by the Representative of Cyprus
Ambassador Constantine Moushoutas
at the Plenary Meeting of the 53rd Session
of the United Nations General Assembly
Dialogue Among Civilizations

November 4, 1998

Mr. President,

My delegation wishes to express its appreciation and commend the delegation of Iran for the inscription to the 53rd Session of the General Assembly the important item "Dialogue Among Civilizations". We regard the inscription timely and the idea visionary, because it gives us the opportunity at this historic period for mankind to renew our resolve to promote, facilitate and enhance dialogue which forms the cornerstone of the UN charter.

We are at the threshold of a new millennium, visualizing a world even more interdependent and technologically oriented than the present, where every aspect of human interchange, political, economic and social is globalized. 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 is ever present and ever growing.

In such a world, promoting cooperation, tolerance and understanding through dialogue, is not only a lofty ideal and good policy: It is an imperative choice for survival.

The world has experienced much destruction and human misery in the present millennium. 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.

We consider the initiative of H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khatami the President of Iran wise, visionary and as we said before, timely. It is time to institutionalize dialogue among peoples of different cultures and civilizations, if we are to serve the cause of peace and justice.

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.

Mr. President,

It is with these thoughts in mind that we cosponsored the resolution A/53/L.23 introduced by Iran. It contains the necessary elements for institutionalizing dialogue among civilizations by organizing and implementing cultural, educational and social programmes by Governments and non-governmental Organizations. Furthermore, we fully support declaring the year 2001 as the "UN Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations".

Thank You, Mr. President.

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