Anciant Civilisations Forum - Press photo
CAIRO – 24 April 2017: Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry called for enhancing cooperation among countries of ancient civilizations at the first ministerial conference of the Ancient Civilizations Forum in Athens Sunday, stressing that terrorism and extremism will top the forum’s priorities, according to a Monday statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Shoukry started his speech by greeting his Chinese and Greek counterparts, Wang Yi and Nikos Kotzias. He expressed his gratitude to both ministers for organizing the event “at this critical time of cultural turmoil,” and announced the launch of the Forum of Ancient Civilization under the Greek-Chinese leadership.
Ten countries are participating in the conference: Greece, China, Egypt, Bolivia, India, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Mexico and Peru. They make up the Ancient Civilizations Forum (ACF), an initiative launched by the Greek Foreign Ministry to include states with the longest cultural history.
In his speech, Shoukry tackled sectarian conflicts and wars and called for “returning to the roots of ancient civilizations and originality to take the wisdom of history” and apply them to the 21st century’s political, economic, cultural and religious conflicts.
The conference sends a “message of civilization, peace and enlightenment to humanity,” Shoukry said.
He further emphasized that the issues of terrorism and extremism and all negative repercussions related to them will be on the priority list of the new forum, and he referred to Egypt’s efforts in combating terrorism.
“My country is currently witnessing a comprehensive action, led by Al-Azhar, to reform and promote religious discourse and to refute the slander that has been strongly attached to Islam and refute all false accusations,” Shoukry stated.
Egypt’s foreign minister also stressed the available opportunities for cooperation among the forum’s members, which will translate its message into action. He proposed creating an international approach that uses the countries’ common cultural heritage against terrorism, violence and extremism, as well as coordinating their efforts to protect cultural heritage from being smuggled or illegally traded.
“The Forum of Ancient Civilizations, derived from the overlap between the depth of history and the variables of the present, can serve as an important tool for cultural diplomacy and a new perspective to deal with the issues of our contemporary world,” Shoukry concluded.
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