Oct 092014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/03/06USUNNEWYORK519.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06USUNNEWYORK519
2006-03-16 18:24
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
USUN New York

VZCZCXYZ0007
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUCNDT #0519/01 0751824
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 161824Z MAR 06
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8339
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 0987
RUEHDO/AMEMBASSY DOHA 0136
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 1058
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 6157
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1980
C O N F I D E N T I A L USUN NEW YORK 000519

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DRL, DRL-PKENNEDY, IO-MLAGON, IO/UNP, IO/UNESCO,
IO/SHA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/15/2016
TAGS: PHUM SCUL PREL KISL RP
SUBJECT: DUPLICATIVE DIALOGUES AMONG CIVILIZATIONS

REF: A. A) KELLY-SHESTACK E-MAIL 2/17/06
¶B. B) 2005 USUN 1055
¶C. C) SHESTACK-KELLY E-MAIL 2/27/06

Classified By: AMBASSADOR A. WOLFF,
U.S. DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED NATIONS, REASONS 1.4
B/D

¶1. (C) Summary. This is an Action Request, per para 6. The
UN Mission of the Philippines is attempting to formalize
follow-up to a conference on “interfaith dialogue,” which
their Foreign Minister chaired in New York in June 2005.
Creation of a proposed follow-up group is ill-defined,
duplicates the goals of the high-level Alliance of
Civilizations, and has attracted little interest from
non-Islamic states. Even though it is not to be an official
UN body, USUN recommends that the U.S. not/not become one of
the founding members of this group, possibly to be called the
“Tripartite Forum for Interreligious Cooperation for Peace.”
Department guidance is requested. End Summary.

NEW INTERFAITH GROUP — TERMS OF REFERENCE

¶2. (C) USUN has attended two meetings, on January 31 and
February 20, convened by the Philippines Mission to attempt
to work out Terms of Reference (TOR) (Ref A) of a proposed
group to undertake interfaith dialogue among countries, UN
bodies and civil society at the United Nations. Civil
society was represented by the board of the Committee of
Religious NGOs, but did not include any Jewish or Islamic NGO
representatives. Although some UN agencies were represented,
no representatives we invited from either OHCHR or the
Alliance of Civilizations. Discussions of the draft TOR were
dominated by Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh and Egypt. Neither
Israel nor most EU countries attended. U.S. econoff asked
several questions about the purpose, structure, costs and
mandate of the proposed group. India and the UK raised
similar concerns.

¶3. (U) The proposed group — whose putative name is
“Tripartite Forum for Interreligious Cooperation for Peace”
— is meant to provide a follow-up mechanism to the
Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace held at the UN
headquarters on June 22, 2005 (Ref B), and to build upon UNGA
Plenary resolutions on “Culture of Peace,” “Dialogue among
Civilizations,” and “Promotion of Religious and Cultural
Understanding, Harmony and Cooperation.” It would not,
however, be an official body of the United Nations.

¶4. (U) The U.S. suggested, per Ref A, that the TOR refer to
religious freedom consistent with the UN Declaration on the
Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination
Based on Religion and Belief, but was opposed by Iran and
Cuba. Iran suggested the TOR include a (problematic) call to
prevent insults to religions and prophets. The Committee of
Religious NGOs’ suggestion that there should be either a
rotating chairmanship or a troika leadership, encompassing an
NGO, a member state, and a UN agency, ran into a barrage of
procedural questions and reservations. The Philippine
suggestion that all potential members put into writing their
acceptance of all Terms of Reference before being accepted
into the group also raised many questions. All participants
in the February 20 meeting agreed that more time and closer
scrutiny were needed before TORs (Ref C) could be endorsed
for this group.

EXISTING GROUP — ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS

¶5. (U) The proposed group described above appears to
duplicate the goals of the Alliance of Civilizations,
established July 14, 2005 by the Secretary General, but lacks
the intergovernmental support and involvement of the SYG’s
project. The Alliance of Civilizations, co-sponsored by
Federico Mayor of Spain (former Dir-Gen of UNESCO) and Mehmet
Aydin of Turkey (Minister of State and professor of
theology), held its first meeting November 27, 2005 in
Mallorca. The 18 prominent politicians, religious leaders
and academicians from all regions of the world named by SYG
Annan as members of the Alliance, include Professor John
Esposito (Georgetown University) and Rabbi Arthur Schneier
(Appeal of Conscience Foundation) of the United States. The
SYG spoke at the Alliance’s second meeting, February 25-26 in
Doha, including on the violent reactions to the Prophet
Mohammed cartoons published in European newspapers.

CONCLUSION/ACTION REQUEST

¶6. (C) The newly-formed Alliance of Civilizations has barely
had a chance to achieve its stated aims of overcoming
prejudice and polarization. With high-level support, a
strong office within the Secretariat headed by former Chief
of Staff Iqbal Riza, along with other highly respected expert
participation, stands a better chance to make a positive
impact than the poorly planned, proposed new “Forum.” The
Forum appears to be a vehicle headed towards coopting NGOs
eager for a place at the table, and using them to give
legitimacy to sham discussions on tolerance by nations mainly
known for their own intolerant behaviors. USUN believes the
U.S. would be best served by steering clear of this exercise.
We would appreciate Department’s guidance.

BOLTON

   

 

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