Vienna, 31 October 2012 Press release

Lopatka: "Dialogue between religions and cultures more important than ever"

Dialogue Centre to contribute vital share to promoting religious tolerance

Vienna, 31 October 2012 - "The current developments in North Africa and in the Arab World underline that the dialogue between cultures and religions is now more important than ever before. We agree in this with Saudi-Arabia and view the imminent opening of the King Abdullah Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue as an important global initiative", State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka said after his working meeting with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi-Arabia, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

In addition to projects intended to strengthen the bilateral political, economic and cultural relations between Austria and Saudi-Arabia, the meeting focused on the regional conflicts in the Middle East.  "Saudi-Arabia and Austria share their concern about the crisis in Syria that is causing such enormous human suffering and is putting the stability of the neighbouring countries at risk. A political solution is the only means to discontinue the escalation of violence and to open up the possibility of a democratic transition for Syria, with the involvement of all groups of society", Lopatka said.

The visit of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs was also dedicated to preparing the official opening of the Centre of Dialogue on 26 November 2012 in Vienna. State Secretary Lopatka underlined the importance of the initiative of the King of Saudi-Arabia to foster an institutionalised interreligious and intercultural dialogue between the major world religions. In their comprehensive exchange about human rights, State Secretary Lopatka informed the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi-Arabia about Austria's commitment to the freedom of religion and the protection of religious minorities world-wide.

Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 4549, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213