By Spiros Sideris – Rhodes
The main motto of the 12th Rhodes Forum held on 25 to 29 September 2014 is “Preventing World War through World Solidarity: 100 years after”, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
The crisis in Ukraine, the problems in the Middle East and the threat of the Islamic State are the main concerns of the participants in the 12th World Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”, whose work began today in Rhodes.
The conference opened today the president of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, Michael Chrisochoïdis, the German politician and president of the German-Russian Forum, Matthias Platzeck, the Shaikha Dheya bint Ebrahim Al Khalifa, member of the royal family of Bahrain, and the founder and president of the World Forum, Vladimir Yakunin.
“The dialogue of cultures is essential today,” said the President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, while referring to the Islamic State as “a real threat”. “We must be together to tackle international terrorism, but we forget that there is a real enemy”, he noted.
Mr. Zeman, supported the abolition of EU sanctions against Russia. “We need to repeal the sanctions against Russia, which are not only unnecessary, but also contradictory. They are causing the opposite effect. We need to develop the dialogue between civilized states”.
“Last year at this time in this place, we all welcomed, full of hope, the new era of stabilization and growth. A year later, the reality is quite different. Numerous ‘fires’ have been sparked in the wider neighborhood surrounding the Mediterranean, scattered and dangerous, threatening to extend to a bigger part of the planet and create an explosive situation”, said in his speech, the Minister of Infrastructure, Michael Chrisochoïdis, to add that “It is our obligation, through the effort for peace, to create worldwide regional cooperation zones, which will be in favor of man”.
The minister also said: “We are obligated through national parliaments and international organizations, to condemn the phenomenon of terrorism that leads mankind centuries back. We must use dialogue to reduce tensions in the world and our neighborhood Europe”.
The German politician and president of the German-Russian Forum, Matthias Platzeck, talked about the war clouds over Europe. “Over the last 25 years life in Europe was peaceful as never before. Now we see that the european sky is filled with new clouds of war. In Germany we are talking about the need for a civilized dialogue with the West and Islam. In the same way we need to have a dialogue between Europe and Russia. You have to remember the things that unite us and to contribute to the alliance between Russia and the West. Such an alliance is not easy today. But there are many common interests between NATO, Russia and Asia and we should talk about our common interests”.
Shaikha Dheya bint Ebrahim Al Khalifa, a member of the royal family of Bahrain, spoke of a third World War “performed in another form. Millions of displaced populations and five plus one countries make decisions on the Middle East, excluding all other countries. The best solution is peaceful negotiations with the participation of all countries”.
The president of the World Forum and president of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, stated that the main objective of the Global Forum is to “emphasize the need for the human element return to society and to foster dialogue between different cultures, religions and traditions”, but also to “for the voice of Russia to be heard at such a difficult time”.
Earlier, in the press conference Mr. Yakunin used harsh language against the United States, “which in the case of Ukraine broke all the rules of diplomacy” and spoke of a “total crisis, with the rise of inequality and world domination by a single country”. “The policy of world domination leads to the suppression of the fight of parts of different countries to protect their rights”, he added.
The vice president of the Forum and former Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Walter Schwimmer, paralleled the current crisis with the period of the First World War. “At the time governments suffered from autism. They did not express themselves, did not listen to each other and did not talk. Now the same is happening between Europe and Russia. If you want peace and dialogue you should listen and keep in mind what the other side has to say”.
The Global Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” is organized for the 12th consecutive year in Rhodes. It is composed of over 400 individuals from 65 countries.
The main motto of this year’s event is “Ending the war, preventing war.” Special mention is made to the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. The conference will last until Sunday.