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United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
13 March 1996
UNESCO DIRECTOR-GENERAL CALLS ON WORLD COMMUNITY
TO SUPPORT PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Paris, 13 March - UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor today called on the international community to support the Middle East peace process in an appeal distributed at the Peacemakers Summit in Egypt.
In a letter sent earlier this week to President Hosni Mubarak of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mr. Mayor asked him to inform world leaders at the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh of his support for the peace process. "UNESCO has always condemned all forms of intolerance and totalitarianism and done everything in its power to promote peace and establish a true culture of peace, both in the Middle East and in the world generally," the Director- General's letter said.
Below is the Director-General's appeal:
"Peace is proclaimed in treaties but made in the hearts and minds of peoples. The premise on which UNESCO is founded remains as true today as when it was affirmed fifty years ago following `the great and terrible war ... made possible by the denial of the democratic principles of the dignity, equality, and mutual respect of men, and by the propagation in their place, through ignorance and prejudice, of the doctrine of the inequality of men and races.'
"The Israeli and Palestinian peoples, sustained by the political vision and courage of their leaders, are engaged in an historic process of reconciliation aimed at bringing to an end long years of bloodshed and injustice and laying the foundations for the construction of a culture of peace within their societies, their territories and their region.
"At this time when their commitment to peace is being so cruelly tested, I appeal to the Israeli and Palestinian peoples not to be deflected from their course by the terrorist's blind savagery. Let the actions of the extremists be seen for what they are - impotence in the face of the peace process, an attack on peace itself that is a challenge not only for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples but for all the countries concerned.
"Such outrages must not be allowed to prompt a return to the vicious circle of retaliatory violence. The firmest measures must be taken to stamp out terrorism - which is why I strongly support current initiatives to co-ordinate action against terrorism in the region. We must show that our vision of peace with justice is stronger and more enduring than any sectarian doctrine of hatred and exclusion. Let peace be our common combat and shared victory.
"I invite all those men and women who share the conviction expressed in this appeal to manifest their steadfast commitment to the peace process in the Middle East by writing to me at UNESCO."
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