|The Address of the Chairman of the Parliament Senate of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr. K.Tokaev at the opening of IX meeting of the Secretariat Session of the Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions|
December 2, 2009, Astana
Dear Holy Fathers!
I am glad again to greet you in Astana. It is pleasant to note that our meetings in the capital of Kazakhstan have become a good tradition. In this connection please allow me to express my gratitude to you personally and in your name to the heads of delegations for your constant and active participation in the work of the Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions.
It is a big support to our general Forum which prestige and influence apparently grows. I am sure that the results of the present meeting will animate the further successful activity of the Congress.
Therefore today we can say with confidence that the Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions is developing with success. However we should make more to consolidate and increase our achievements.
The representative of each denomination participating in the work of the Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions is the Ambassador of good will in his own way bearing the most sacred dreams and expectations of millions of people. It is obvious that each person is full of hopes and aspirations for the lasting peace, termination of senseless bloodshed and creation of favorable conditions for development of dialogue of religions. Each person dreams of happy life in harmony and consent.
One of the ways of achievement of these goals is promotion of religious tolerance, development of positive dialogue and mutual trust. The basis of any faith should not be disguised and the science of religion cannot be the tool of policy and ideology.
Today the fulfillment of responsible mission is entrusted to us and its successful realization requires integrating efforts. This is what I call you to.
This is the first meeting of Secretariat which is held after the third Congress. I think that today's work will help summarize the work of Congress and come up with a corresponding plan of our activities till 2012 where the further improvement of work of the interreligious summit can become a corner-stone of our work.
About 80 delegations from 35 countries of the world took part in the work of the third Congress with technical assistance of institutions of the United Nations Organization. The growing interest of the world community in the Congress is a conclusive evidence of the fact that the forum became an effective and recognized international dialogue platform. The summit is rightfully considered an integral and very important part of global process of entering into cooperation between religions. I think it is a vivid evidence of mutual support and trust and our belief in success of common cause that, undoubtedly, was contributed by our joint activity.
As is well known, the interreligious forum which is held since 2003 on the initiative and due to support of the President of Kazakhstan Mr. Nursultan Nazarbaev plays the important role in promotion of interreligious consent in the world and harmony between civilizations. And this fact is recognized by the world community.
During the latest summer summit the participants have far and wide discussed many actual problems which pose a threat to stability and security of the world. The fundamental and interesting interchange of views concerning the search for the ways of their decision has taken place.
I am sure that the words of edification at the plenary and section meetings and the Address of participants of the Congress have contributed to the deepening of mutual understanding between religions and people. The ideas calling for unity and friendship made one step forward to formation of peace loving community based on variety and harmony.
On the initiative of Kazakhstan the Address of participants of the third Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions was circulated in the United Nations Organization as the official document of the General Assembly and Security Council. This is a tremendous achievement. It is our common success.
Our country has acquired distinction in the world community as the state with a stable political system of public consent and stability where all conditions for free and peaceful co-existence of confessions are created.
The Assembly of Kazakhstan people which became a unique institution of development of interethnic relations in the country and reliable stronghold of peace and mutual respect contributed a lot to this noble cause.
Kazakhstan experience in the assurance of interreligious consent is studied in many western and eastern countries.
Starting from the next year Kazakhstan will preside in the Organization on security and cooperation in Europe, and in 2011 it will be in charge of organization of Islamic conference. The chairmanship in such authoritative organizations gives the chance to Kazakhstan to contribute to the development of interreligious, intercivilization and intercultural dialogue between the Muslim states and western countries. The mutual understanding and harmony between religions will become one of the most important agenda issues of our chairmanship.
As is well known on the initiative of Kazakhstan the special resolution of the United Nations on declaring 2010 the International year of rapprochement of cultures has been adopted.
Our domestic and international achievements resulted from the wise and well-balanced policy of our President Mr. Nursult Nazarbaev aimed at building a democratic state with market economy where peace and unity of Kazakhstan people is the most important asset.
We have put forward the initiative on holding the summit of the heads of OSCE states in Astana in which agenda we suggest to include the development of Action Program on assurance of interethnic and interdenominational consent. We plan to hold it next year in summer. This idea found support of many our partners in the Organization.
The majority of important issues discussed during such events are conformable with ideas of our forum. Indeed the Congress pursues the aim of strengthening the principles of tolerance and mutual understanding, dialogue and cooperation.
I believe that our common purpose should be the further improvement of Congress activity and our meeting keynote should be the strengthening of its role and significance in the global process of dialogue of civilizations and religions. Therefore we should put forward fresh ideas and offer new proposal. I hope that this meeting should initiate this work.
I suggest exchanging opinions on the following agenda items.
The first issue is the exchange of opinions following the results of the third congress of leaders of world and traditional religions. The forum participants put forward a number of proposals concerning the improvement of its work. Among them are: increase in number of section meetings on actual modern problems, wide involvement of women in the Congress activity. In addition such initiatives as action plan development aimed at the strengthening of interreligious tolerance, study of the concept of positive dialogue between religions are being put forward.
In this connection, dear visitors, following the results of this forum we would like to listen to your opinions which will become rather useful for preparation of the fourth Congress in 2012.
The second issue is the activity of the Congress Secretariat.
As you know the Secretariat was created during the first Congress as a working body for preparation of draft final documents and development of the summit agenda. Its structure comprises one representative from each religious association which participates in the work of Congress.
Obviously up to this day the Secretariat has successfully coped with the tasks assigned.
However with the course of time the structure of forum participants has considerably grown and the number of Secretariat members has increased. This, in its turn, started to affect the efficiency of decision-making and process of working out of draft documents. Thereupon in 2007 at the sixth meeting of Secretariat the decision was made on creation of a special Working group on preparation of draft final documents of the third Congress.
With regard to the increase of the number of people wishing to participate in the work of Secretariat we have considered necessary to submit this issue to your consideration. From our part we consider expedient to limit the quantitative structure of the Secretariat in order not to turn it into «Congress analogue». If necessary it is possible to discuss the rotation principle.
Besides it is necessary to consider the issue of creation of new Working group of 9-10 persons which will engage in working out of the summit agenda and preparation of draft final documents.
The group created earlier has executed their mission completely. Thereupon I kindly ask you to offer the nominees for participation in the given group. I think that team members should have all authorities required to act and make decisions on behalf of Secretariat. It will positively affect the strategic decision-making on various issues arising during forum preparation.
The third issue is the exchange of opinions on the terms of holding the forthcoming Congress, its subjects and agenda. Dear visitors, please express your opinions on a circle of indicated issues.
According to the current tradition and also in line with the decision of the latest Congress the next forum will be held in 2012 in Astana. On our part we suggest to hold the next summit in September or beginning of October 2012.
During this meeting we also have to establish the dates of the tenth meeting of Congress Secretariat.
We know that at all participants have very busy work schedules. Furthermore traveling is tiresome. Therefore we suggest holding the next meeting in the first decade of September, 2011. Till this time the Working group which will be created following the results of this meeting, will prepare necessary draft documents and mutually agreed offers on the agenda of the fourth Congress. In this case the next meeting of Secretariat will become more comprehensive and functional. The members of the Working group can correspond by e-mail and hold meetings in Astana if necessary.
By tradition for the purpose of assertion of decisions made on the issues discussed today and tomorrow we suggest to accept the minutes of Secretariat meeting upon work completion.
I hope that the given offers will become a satisfactory basis for our forthcoming work. I am sure that after the meeting we will come to the general consensus on all issues discussed.
I wish you a fruitful work.
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