17 Oct 2013
Theo off Cyprus' location is in a politically-sensitive and volatile geographic area and at the crossroads of faiths and civilisations
Stand-up Theo on .
So it offers the perfect platform for the dialogue organised by the EPP Group on the role of religions in peace-building and conflict resolution in the Mediterranean Region.
Theo off Interreligious dialogue for peace in the Mediterranean, combatting fundamentalism to promote political stabilisation were the key issues discussed at the first day of the 16th Interreligious Dialogue in Nicosia with the participation of Christians, Muslims and Jews. The meeting opened with the welcome addresses of Jan Olbrycht, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group, and Eleni Theocharous, Head of the Cypriot Delegation of the EPP Group. The crucial and constructive role of religions in conflict resolution was underlined in the opening remarks by Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus and former Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group, and Archbishop Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Nova Justiniana and all Cyprus. Jan Olbrycht stressed that in the decade to come, we will experience new times, periods of crises. So there is a necessity for dialogue and discussion on Syria, on the Arab Spring and on what is taking place in Europe.
on We politicians from EPP we are declaring that we think what is important is peace in the Mediterranean. But for peace we need a dialogue between societies, between groups but also between religions, between churches etc. What is more important for the moment is first to understand all the background, to understand the specificity of religion.
off Fundamentalism as a factor of political instability was the theme of the second debate. Tasos Mitsopoulos, the Cypriot Minister of Communications and Works, talked about long and short-term measures to tackle fundamentalism, such as combating social exclusion, poverty, unemployment, resolving pending political issues and improving education.
on To promote of course intercultural interfaith dialogue in a persistence way in order to bring together those who are in charge for the formation of international politics. We have to put in place of course strict measures in order to prevent any terrorist acts, to enhance security throughout the countries.
Theo off Kyrillos William, the Coptic Catholic Bishop of Assiut in Egypt, said that the role of Christians is to help moderate Muslims and gave concrete examples from Egypt.
Kyrillos William on
The Catholic church a small minority within the Christian minority leads 170 schools, catholic schools. And in the schools 90% are Moslems. And it helps in the building of an atmosphere of peace. Also we have our activities in the health area and it is open for all Egyptians.
Theo off Syria, before the war, was a very good example of a peaceful coexistence between religions. The situation there has dramatically changed. For Elias Toumeh, Bishop and Representative of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, a political solution is needed in order to put an end to the violence.
on I think when we start the political solution the fundamentalism will be already blocked and could not find more fighters, more financial aid and all this situation.
Dialogue, peace, freedom, education respect or differences and diversity along with job opportunities, social cohesion and solidarity. These are the core elements for stability and prosperity in the region. The EPP Group actively supports and contributes to all these efforts. Find out more on this topic on our Website www.eppgroup.eu. Thank you for watching. See you again soon.
This media asset is free for editorial broadcast, print, online and radio use. It is restricted for use for other purposes.