Unofficial summary provided by United Nations Press Service

IBRAHIM ASSAF (Lebanon) said the United Nations was the best place to embody dialogue between cultures and establish new norms in international relations. Dialogue was an unavoidable tool. Among civilizations, it meant acknowledging others’ differences. It also meant dealing with diversity as a source of enrichment, not as a source of danger. Dialogue should not be a means of alienating or dissolving the other, but rather affirming the other’s existence.

He said dialogue was acknowledging that ownership of truth was relative, and that it was the property of all civilizations. “We should always search for the benefits and good deeds of others and look at our own shortcomings.” Dialogue meant tolerance, not the powerful enforcing their opinion over the weak. The vulnerable should feel that the powerful listened to them, and the powerful should feel the need to justify their case to others. He said dialogue in Lebanon was not a mere slogan, but a reality experienced every day, and evident in the will to coexist between Muslims and Christians. That had made Lebanon a model for cooperation.