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High-level Dialogue on Interreligious and Intercultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace
10-05-2007, 11:46 pm

Statement by Mr. Nguyen Tat Thanh, Deputy Permanent Representative of Viet Nam to the United Nations, at the 19th Plenary Meeting of the 62nd Session of the General Assembly: High-level Dialogue on Interreligious and Intercultural Understanding and Cooperation for Peace


New York, 5 October 2007

Mr. President,

At the outset let, me congratulate you on your election as President of the Sixty-Second General Assembly. I am convinced that with your rich experience, you will steer this Session to a successful conclusion.

I wish to thank the Secretary General for his report.

Mr. President,

Having been victimized by many destructive wars, the Vietnamese people treasure peace, stability and development. We fully support efforts by countries, communities and people around the world pursuing these ends through dialogue and cooperation.

Genuine dialogue and cooperation require mutual respect, understanding and tolerance. These mutually reinforcing elements are in fact a continuing process of learning of oneself and of the others.

In our global village of today, interaction keeps increasing among religions and cultures from all parts of the world. It is an opportune time for all of us to learn more of one another, not only about the commonalities or shared values, but also about the differences; to enhance unity and to accept and benefit from diversity; to live with a culture of peace, non-violence, respect, understanding and tolerance.

In this regard, the importance of education, especially of youth and the media in promoting respect, understanding and tolerance must be emphasized. Concerted efforts in this respect need to be carried out at global, regional, national and local levels. 

We commend the efforts by the Alliance of Civilizations, the Tripartite Forum on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace, the United Nations system, especially UNESCO and UNFPA as mentioned in the report of the Secretary General, in promoting and implementing this idea. Viet Nam welcomes the designation of a focal point in the UN Secretariat to coordinate mutually complementing activities of the UN system in this field. At the regional level, Vietnamese representatives of different faiths and religions actively participate in the interfaith dialogue and exchange of experience and best practices within the framework of the Asia-Europe Meeting and in the Asia-Pacific Region to further strengthen the understanding and cooperation across regions.  

Viet Nam is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country with 54 nationalities and many different religious communities composing of 20 millions believers living side by side in harmony sharing the spirit of fraternity, mutual respect and assistance, while respecting and cherishing each other’s unique identity. The Vietnamese people of different nationalities, religions and cultures joined forces in the struggle for national independence in the past and are now side by side shouldering the task of national construction. In war or in peace, the strength of the country lies in both unity and diversity of its people.

Back in its first meeting in 1945, the Provisional Government of Viet Nam under the leadership of President Ho Chi Minh issued the motto “ freedom for religious solidarity between believers and non-believers”. The 1992 Constitution of Viet Nam reaffirms this spirit in concrete terms. Our national experience and policies in this connection guide our activities at the global level.

Mr. President,

Before conclusion, I wish to assure you that Viet Nam will continue to make every efforts, together with countries and peoples of the world to foster understanding and cooperation in the name of peace and development for all.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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