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2002-02-12 07:06:04

by Maria Myles from Constantinople, Feb 12 (CNA) -- Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has called on mankind to put a halt to those using diversity to justify conflict, pointing out that dialogue can transcend discord, harmonise human relations and solve differences as well as sow the seeds of a culture of peace, but recognised that in many parts of the world there is systematic and atrocious violations of human rights.

In his address to the joint forum of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the European Union, which got underway here today, the minister said Cyprus is a vivid example of a melting pot of civilisations and has an important role to play linking cultures, adding that dialogue is imperative among nations if human relations and differences are to be solved.

The minister's speech, though without any direct reference to the continuing occupation of Cyprus' northern areas by the host country (Turkey) for some 28 years, Kasoulides made it clear that Cyprus is also entitled to the enjoyment of every right that any other nation is, including the right to respect of its culture and civilisation, pointing out that in Cyprus, where Greek and Turkish Cypriots have lived for centuries together until the Turkish invasion forcibly divided them, civilisations have coexisted and determined the island's history.|

"We consider our role as a link of cultures of primal importance and we see this role as an obligation on our part to promote peace, stability, prosperity, within our region and to enhance awareness of each other's commonalities, bridging gaps that might separate us," the Cypriot minister said.

Each culture and civilisation must be accorded the respect it deserves, Kasoulides said, stressing that the respect Cyprus affords each culture is "the benchmark by which our commitment to multicultural symbiosis will be judged and guaranteed."

Noting that systematic and atrocious violations of human rights are still perpetrated in many parts of the globe, the minister said promoting cooperation, tolerance, dialogue and mutual understanding among peoples, countries, cultures and religions is "the imperative choice of survival."

Referring to the fight against terrorism, he said Cyprus categorically rejects any attempt to allow nations to fall victim to "polarisation and ephemeral considerations" by stressing the universal nature of the struggle against the terrorist assault against the US.

Concluding his remarks, he said "let us not forget that dialogue is a sine qua non for harmonising human relations and solving differences amongst us, dialogue can triumph over discord and is capable of transforming heavy burdens of a culture of violence into the seeds of a culture of peace."

Kasoulides thanked Turkey for hosting this conference.

CNA MM/GP/2002

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