The Apostolic Nuncio to Thailand and the kingdom's foreign minister have agreed on the necessity to sustain momentum of interfaith dialogue (IFD) as well as cultural and religious education. In a statement, the foreign minister emphasized Thailand’s active contribution to interfaith dialogue as well as support for the voice of moderation as he and the nuncio, Archbishop Giovanni d’ Aniello, shared views and directions for further cooperation on issues pertaining to religious and cultural understanding. During a courtesy call last week at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of assuming his duties as Apostolic Nuncio to Thailand, the archbishop discussed extensively various social, cultural, and religious issues with foreign minister Kasit Piromya. He noted that a meeting between different faiths would lead to respect, and events such as an interfaith meeting to be held in Assisi, Italy in October this year, would contribute greatly to such dialogue. The meeting was called by the Pope on the occasion of World Day of Peace on 1 January 2011. Kasit agreed that IFD was important for cultural and religious understanding, and reiterated that Thailand was an active participant in domestic forums as well as international fora concerning this. Archbishop d’Aniello acknowledged the fact and praised prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for his speech when Thailand hosted the Third Consultation – Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and World Council of Churches in Bangkok in January. Kasit also suggested that there was a need to emphasize the importance of common religious teachings and moderation as well as the principles of neighborliness, love and respect for different religions. In this regard, Archbishop d’Aniello said that the Vatican was ready to sponsor one or two Thai students to study in Rome to widen their horizons on education. The two also discussed general issues such as current global political developments, the current and future nature of information technology and their impact on society, as well as the Vatican’s potential role in the situation of displaced persons from Myanmar.
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