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UNAOC official says Saudi Arabia has leading role in interfaith dialogue

Published: Updated:

The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Miguel Angel Moratinos, has met with Saudi King Salman on Tuesday and said that the Kingdom has always had a leading role in terms of promoting dialogue between different faiths and religions.

“That is the main objective of the United Nations and also civilization. So for achieving my goal, my mandate at the United Nations, Saudi Arabia is a key country in the Arab world, the Islamic community and the international community to engage and work together,” Moratinos told Al Arabiya.

Moratinos reviewed during his meeting with Saudi King Salman the opportunities for partnership between Saudi Arabia and the UNAOC Forum on building up cultural and civilizational bridges between the Kingdom and various world cultures.

During his visit to Saudi Arabia, he also met with Saudi Foreign Minister Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf and the Secretary-General of the founding Secretary General of the Vienna-based King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) Faisal bin Abdul Rahman bin Muammar.

Moratinos also spoke against a vote by Austria’s parliament to shut down KAICIID and revoke an agreement that bases it in Vienna. According to Reuters, the Vatican is a founding observer of KAICIID and has representation on its board, which by an existing treaty must include three Christians, three Muslims, a Jew, a Hindu, and a Buddhist.

“With all my respect to democratic institutions in Vienna, I have to say that kindly and highly KAICIID is not the target. KAICIID can be the solution,” Moratinos said. He added that he sees KAICIID overcoming “this crisis and we will continue, and I can assure you, that United Nations Alliance of Civilizations is going to have as a partner.”