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Ancient Civilizations Forum Pledges To Expand Activities, Supports Belt and Road Initiative

April 25, 2017 (EIRNS)—The First Ministerial Meeting of the Ancient Civilizations Forum, that brought together the government ministers of Greece, China, Italy, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, and India, yesterday concluded its two-day conference with a pledge to expand the organization’s activities. As an initiative of Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, cosponsored by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the group was created to utilize the "soft power" of ancient civilizations to resolve conflicts, promote dialogue, and establish international peace.

At the closing press conference on April 24, Kotzias said,

"Culture for U.S. is soft power and an economic factor. It is what humanizes people and enables U.S. to tell the untold in a way that dispels fears and insecurities ... we concluded that we can and must continue to work together to spread the peaceful values of culture and agreed in the next two months that there should be a number of plans and projects..

"We prefer dialogue to fanaticism, we prefer civilization to terrorist acts. We prefer to retrieve the wisdom of our peoples from the past and seal the future,"

he emphasized.

The final communiqué stressed the need for dialogue, joint struggle against all forms of extremism. While not mentioning Syria as such, the communiqué committed the forum to

"Deploring the fact that armed conflicts have become both a serious threat to the integrity of world heritage monuments and the cause of illicit trafficking in cultural property deriving from armed conflict areas..."

The communiqué also refers to the Belt and Road Initiative, saying:

"Advancing the Belt and Road Initiative for international cooperation, among others, will play an important role to promote civilizational dialogues and increase people-to-people bonds."

The foreign ministers agreed to hold their next meeting in 2018, in Bolivia. The group will be open to new members and observers, and will invite representatives from UNESCO, the UN, and other international organizations to join meetings when appropriate. The proceedings of the meeting will be published in a book.

Principal participants were the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Mr. Wang Yi, of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Mr. Sameh Shoukry, of the Hellenic Republic, H.E. Mr. Nikos Kotzias, of the Islamic Republic of Iran, H.E. Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, of the Republic of Iraq, H.E. Ibrahim Al-Eshaiker Al-Jaafari, of the Italian Republic, H.E. Mr. Angelino Alfano, the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Peru, H.E. Mr. Salvador Alejandro Jorge del Solar, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Dr. Guadalupe Palomeque de la Cruz.