Deputy Secretary-General stresses need for dialogue among cultures

Deputy Secretary-General stresses need for dialogue among cultures

Louise Fréchette
A dialogue among cultures based on respect for the dignity of all can help to foster peace and international cooperation, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette said today in an address to a meeting of the Francophonie Organization in Beirut.

“Cultural diversity is a source of vitality and a wealth we have a duty to preserve,” the Deputy Secretary-General told participants.

Rejecting the notion of an inevitable “clash of civilizations,” Ms. Fréchette said a different future scenario could envision a global community respecting universal values. “The Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights offer a common basis of values and principles recognized by all,” she observed.

A dialogue could help reveal new areas of agreement to deal with the many problems plaguing the world, including environmental degradation, AIDS, terrorism and transnational crime. Although no one country could tackle those concerns, acting together, much could be accomplished. The dialogue could also serve to foster a better understanding of the causes of conflicts and help lead the way to peace, she said.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict clearly could not be resolved by military force or violence, but must be addressed through a political solution handled on an equally footing and leading to the establishment of two States – Israel and Palestine – living side by side within secure and recognized borders. All those with an influence on the parties must press them to accept this vision for the sake of peace, she said.

She also hailed the Francophonie, saying that like the UN it contributes to building bridges among peoples and fostering dialogue among cultures and civilizations, bringing together a wide range of societies and diverse traditions and sending a strong message of openness, tolerance, solidarity and respect.