Your Excellency, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan,
Your Excellency, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey,
Your Excellency, Mr. José Manuel García Margallo, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain,
Your Excellency, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me begin by sincerely expressing my deep regret for not being able to join all of you in person as planned, owing to unavoidable circumstances.
I am pleased to send my warmest greetings to all participants at the Seventh United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Global Forum. I thank the co-founders, Turkey and Spain, for this invaluable initiative.
I appreciate the hospitality of His Excellency President Ilham Aliyev, the Government of Azerbaijan and the city of Baku.
We live at a time of grave crises. Record numbers of people have been forced to flee their homes.
Many escape violent extremism and persecution. When they arrive in what they hope will be safe havens, all too often they are greeted with hate and discrimination.
Division and exclusion only play into the hands of the extremists. Their bombs target buildings – but what they really want to destroy is our common ground.
I therefore applaud the theme of this Forum, “Living together in inclusive societies.”
This is also a major aim of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This Agenda is for all people – especially those who have been marginalized for too long because of racism, discrimination, xenophobia and other kind of bias.
The Alliance is helping to carry out this global plan to leave no one behind and ensure a life of dignity for all. I fully support this United Nations entity.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Next month, we will address the needs of the most vulnerable at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. I urge all of you to support this important gathering.
Then on September 19th, the General Assembly will hold a high-level meeting to confront the challenges of large population movements.
At the same time, we are working around the world to resolve disputes, end conflicts and consolidate peace.
We are focusing on prevention by tackling the root causes of conflicts.
The General Assembly has welcomed the United Nations Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
This phenomenon is not rooted in any single religion, region, nationality or ethnic group.
Stereotyping is dangerous and destabilizing.
Sensationalism may sell papers – but it does not solve problems.
I welcome the Alliance’s work to amplify moderate voices and help present the facts.
In a world of suspicion and fear, the Alliance is forging trust and understanding.
Its projects support young innovators, provides resources for journalists and honour leaders who encourage dialogue.
Let us strengthen this invaluable Alliance as we rise to the challenges of our times.
Thank you for your leadership and your commitment.