Forum Seeks Muslim - Western Understanding

January 15, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The New York Times

Wire Service: AP

The world is in urgent need of dialogue between Western and Muslim countries as a way to combat terrorism, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday as he opened an international forum.

''Never in our lifetime has there been a more desperate need for constructive and committed dialogue, among individuals, among communities, among cultures, among and between nations,'' Ban said in Madrid at the start of a two-day meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations, a U.N.-backed initiative aimed at encouraging dialogue between the West and Muslim countries.

''The threats are terrifying but the responses are at hand,'' he added.

''Fostering dialogue will not produce changes overnight,'' said Ban. ''It is not the fast way. But it is the sure way.''