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Australia supports interfaith dialogue.

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Media Release

25 September 2009

Australia supports interfaith dialogue

Today in New York, I attended the Fourth Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace in the margins of the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

This was the first time that Australia had participated as a full member of the meeting following on my request last year for Australia to move from observer to full Ministerial membership.

The meeting, chaired by the Philippines, seeks understanding among civilisations, cultures and religions to promote tolerance and respect for diversity. The meeting helps strengthen the commitment to interfaith dialogue at the international level.

Attendees included Foreign Ministers or Ambassadors of Belarus, Egypt, Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, and Thailand.

I highlighted Australia’s strong support of the Regional Interfaith Dialogue that Australia co-sponsors with Indonesia, New Zealand and the Philippines, which brings together the remaining eight ASEAN nations, East Timor, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Australia will host the fifth regional interfaith dialogue on 28 - 30 October 2009 in Perth, which will build on previous regional interfaith dialogues. The Perth Dialogue’s theme will be “Future Faith Leaders: Regional Challenges and Cooperation”.

Also, the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions will hold the fourth Parliament of the World’s Religions, in Melbourne on 3 - 9 December 2009. The Parliament is the world’s largest interreligious gathering.

The next Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace will be held during UNGA in September 2010.

Media inquiries:

• Mr Smith's office 02 6277 7500 • Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555