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Cyprus hosts ASEM meeting on Interfaith Dialogue
2006-07-02 14:34:34

Nicosia, Jul 2 - Cyprus and Malaysia played host to this year?s Asia - Europe Meeting (ASEM) Interfaith Dialogue, which took place in the southeastern coastal town of Larnaca from 3 to 5 July.

President Papadopoulos officially opened the deliberations of the 2nd ASEM, which dealt with the issue of ?Interfaith understanding and cooperation for a peaceful world?.

The President said the end of this week marks the one-year anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on the London Underground, in which many people lost their lives and hundreds of others were injured. ?Perpetrators of these attacks, like similar ones in New York, Istanbul, Madrid and Bali before them, disrupted peaceful relations and incited, temporarily, I hope animosity among peoples of different backgrounds, cultures and religions?, he added.

In the shadow of these attacks, in late July 2005, over 130 religious and political leaders, academics and intellectuals from Asia and Europe, met in Bali for the first ASEM Interfaith Dialogue, and examined ways of promoting interfaith harmony through education, culture, social institutions and the media.

More than 200 delegates from 40 European and South Asian countries as well as from international organizations participated in the Larnaca meeting, including governmental officials, political and religious leaders, academics, intellectuals and representatives of the Press.

Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs George Lillikas and his Malaysian counterpart Syed Hamid Albar also addressed the opening session.

The objective of the Larnaca meeting was to identify ways in which people of different faiths of the respective two regions can move from harmony and understanding, through a solid and permanent dialogue, to fruitful and substantial cooperation, rather than mere side-by-side coexistence.

Three working groups will looked into the issues of ?Interfaith Understanding?, ?The role of the Media in Promoting Interfaith Dialogue? and ?Religion and Multiethnic Societies?.

The closing session adopted the Larnaca Declaration.

The first ASEM took place in Bali last July, jointly hosted by Indonesia and the United Kingdom under the overall theme of ?Unity in Diversity: Building Interfaith Harmony within the International Community?.

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