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Message of H.E. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission on the occasion of the Conference Peace and Tolerance II, Dialogue and Cooperation in Southeast Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia
Istanbul, Turkey 7-9 November 2005.

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Your All Holiness,
Eminences,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The political changes in Europe and other parts of the world in recent years have been remarkable both in their speed and scale. This global transformation has challenged ideological alignments and longstanding alliances but it has also reinforced the interdependence of nations and regions and the rapprochement between cultures and peoples. Leaders are at the centre of an on-going dialogue to achieve mutual security, reduce tension and confrontation and increase solidarity.

I welcome the Peace and Tolerance II Dialogue and Cooperation in Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia between spiritual leaders, taking place in Istanbul. Religious communities and spiritual leaders of the three monotheistic religions bear great responsibility in this process of transformation and rapprochement. Conflict, instability and poverty affect us all. Europe will continue to address these issues, to promote stability and peace, not only on humanitarian grounds but also because regional conflicts undermine our efforts to achieve our wider objectives of security and prosperity across the continent of Europe. The European Union remains firmly committed to continue working with the countries of Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia to support their political and economic transformation.

During my meeting with spiritual leaders of the three monotheistic religions in Brussels on 12 July this year we reaffirmed the dedication to building a free, united, prosperous and peaceful Europe characterized by solidarity, where all citizens and nations, regardless of their religion, convictions, language, culture, tradition and ethnic origin, may live together united in diversity.

The European Commission is dedicated to continuing the dialogue with religious leaders, to make this common vision of a united Europe a reality and also to extend their dialogue to encompass their neighbours to the East, West and South.