General

UN’s Alliance of Civilizations ‘timeless initiative,’ says Turkish foreign minister

Addressing the 9th Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations in Morocco's Fez city, Mevlut Cavusoglu recalled that Türkiye and Spain launched the alliance nearly 17 years ago.

"... we could not have known at the time that this was going to be a timeless initiative," he said.

"Seventeen years ago, we were in a different world. This may be the age of crises and even war resulting from nation-state competition, superpower rivalry, and major socio-economic upheaval," he further said.

Cavusoglu went on to say that "hate crimes, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Christian sentiments, xenophobia, separatism, and extremism continue to increase everywhere," adding that "it is difficult to undo all the misperceptions, prejudices and feelings of disconnection that we built over generations."

He, however, said, "We have to start somewhere," as "humanity is confronted with the task to end human suffering caused by these prejudices."

Cavusoglu said the UN Alliance of Civilization has an action plan that is built on three major lines of work.

"These are: preventive diplomacy, mediation, and preventing and countering violent extremism. If even one of these pillars fall, there will be human suffering," he said.

Cavusoglu further listed the "important steps" that the alliance has taken, including the UN General Assembly declaring March 15, the anniversary of the 2019 Christchurch attacks in New Zealand, as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

"In 2021, our Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites was endorsed by the UN General Assembly. In 2020, High Representative (Miguel Angel) Moratinos was designated the first-ever UN focal point to monitor antisemitism," he added.

The top Turkish diplomat also underscored the importance Ankara attaches to mediation and cited the landmark Black Sea grain deal's ability to bring down grain prices to "historic levels."

"There was a global relief. Last week, again together we succeeded in extending the agreement for another four months," Cavusoglu added.

More than 10 million tons of Ukrainian grain have been shipped since Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul in late July.

It was extended last week for another 120 days, once again through mediation efforts by Türkiye and the UN.

Cavusoglu, who pledged to continue close work with the UN, said, "establishing the regional office for mediation, prevention and dialogue in Istanbul will be another milestone."

"Making multilateral cooperation stronger is critical to our work here at the alliance," he added.

Cavusoglu held a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the forum in Morocco, as he first met with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib.

"Our support for the stability of Lebanon will continue," said Cavusoglu on Twitter.

The Turkish foreign minister also met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and discussed "the latest developments in Ukraine, Istanbul grain deal and regional developments including Syria and Libya," according to his social media post.

Turkish and Palestinian foreign ministers met on the sidelines of the forum as Cavusoglu conveyed Türkiye's continued, "strong support for the brotherly Palestinian people and its cause" to his counterpart Riad Maliki.

Cavusoglu later met with his Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares on the margins of the forum in Fez as they addressed the "latest developments in Ukraine, NATO enlargement and our defense cooperation."

He also met with his Libyan counterpart Najla Elmangoush, and vowed to "continue to work together to ensure stability in Libya."

Source: Anadolu Agency