Wednesday, May 30, 2007

NZ Hosts Peace, Religious Tolerance Conference

Political and religious leaders from 15 Asia-Pacific countries are in New Zealand for the latest in a series of talks aimed at promoting peace, regional security and religious tolerance.

The three-day conference is being held at Waitangi.

This is the third inter-faith dialogue organised since the terrorist attacks in Bali in 2002.

The conference brings together academics, religious leaders and officials from the Asia-Pacific region including Filipino President Gloria Arroyo and Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark says the dialogue aims to promote better understanding between Islamic and western societies in the wake of the so-called "war against terror".

"So it's a question of these being one of those meetings which brings people together to find common cause irrespective of the boundaries that over the decades and millennia we've erected between ourselves," she said.

Regional security issues, the media and the role of education in promoting religious understanding are all on the agenda.

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