World forum on int'l dialogue kicks off in Baku

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BAKU, May 2 (Xinhua) -- The 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue was launched in the capital city of Azerbaijan on Thursday, bringing together high-ranking officials from more than 100 countries and 30 international organizations, according to the state-run news agency AZERTAC.

The two-day forum is organized by the Azerbaijani government in partnership with UNESCO, UN Alliance of Civilizations, UN World Tourism Organization, Council of Europe and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO).

Addressing the opening ceremony, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that in a relatively short period of time the forum has transformed into "a global platform to address one of the most pressing issues of nowadays - the issue of cultural dialogue".

High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Angel Moratinos hailed the forum as an ideal platform to disseminate a message of peace to the world.

ISESCO Director General Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri said there is a need for political will by the world leaders to make dialogue a success and achieve its goals and objectives.

Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Yousef Bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen described the forum as a valuable contribution to intercultural dialogue between the East and the West.

Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni said that for over a decade the Baku forum has provided an unrivalled opportunity for experts in the field of intercultural dialogue to share their experience and understanding.

Dubbed "Baku Process", the forum was launched in 2008 when in a unique move the government of Azerbaijan initiated a joint meeting of culture ministers of the Council of Europe member states and Muslim countries. Enditem

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