Major global issues discussed: Syria, Mali, Israel-Palestine, and Islamophobia
Vienna, Austria, 27 February, 2013 — Leaders from around the world, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Heinz Fischer of Austria, the Emir of Qatar Shaikh Hamad Al Thani, Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, Foreign Minister Margallo of Spain, Foreign Minister Salehi of Iran, and many others are meeting in Vienna today for the 5th Global UN Alliance of Civilizations Forum.
Throughout the halls of the Forum, high-level conversations are taking place between these leaders to address current global issues such as Syria, Mali, Palestine, and the future of sustainable development.
During a press conference with the dignitaries, concerns over the conflict in Syria were of key concern. The incoming UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, Nasser Al-Nasser proposed that, “The Alliance can become a major soft power tool to defuse tensions.”
When asked whether Austria is willing to play a role in diffusing rising tensions, Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger confirmed “Austria would be ready to host a conference of civil society partners from Syria, aimed at fostering healing and reconciliation between the various religious groups involved in the current conflict.”
The Forum is taking place February 27th-28th, 2013 and has brought together more than 2000 people from around the world to Vienna, including youth and civil society representatives, religious leaders, business leaders, and others.