Press Release No.2002-49
DEPLORING THE UPSURGE OF VIOLENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, UNESCO DIRECTOR-GENERAL CALLS UPON YOUTH TO DIALOGUE
Paris, August 7 - In a statement issued on Wednesday, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, deplored the recent surge of violence in the Middle East which continues to cause the death of so many civilians, both Palestinian and Israeli.
Within that context, and as the traditional week of mourning comes to a close, the Director-General condemned the terrorist attack perpetrated on 31 July at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an institution of higher learning with which UNESCO has maintained strong cooperation for many years, stating that: « This destructive act, purposely planned to kill young people, as well as those who guide and teach them, from different cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds, who, day after day, weave bonds of knowledge, intelligence and friendship, disconcerts as much as it dismays. »
Mr Matsuura further called upon both Israeli and Palestinian youth to continue this work of reconciliation and by daily gestures of cooperation and understanding help bring about the positive diplomacy needed to restore peace to their region.
He concluded by saying that : “In keeping with its mandate, an essential aspect of UNESCO’s action in the Middle East has been, and continues to be, the promotion of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians by re-establishing and strengthening links among intellectuals, representatives of civil society, and youth from both sides, with a view to helping to break the cycle of conflict and to endeavor to achieve peace”.