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The Foreign Minister's Speech at Alliance of civilizations Group of Friends Meeting September 24th 2010

- First of all, I would like to welcome the progress that the Alliance of Civilizations has made in invigorating the dialogue between civilizations in many different forms.

- Strengthening the mutual understanding between cultures is an important challenge and a valuable opportunity for all of us. And we count on the Alliance of Civilizations to continue to play a constructive role and show leadership in this regard.

- During the past month we have witnessed just how important it is to build this majority for mutual respect and understanding. As history has taught us, there are always those who are ready to do the unthinkable in order to catch the attention of the international media. The threats to burn the Quran in Florida was a particularly repulsive example of this phenomenon. I strongly condemn such acts. But as we have learned; the more attention we give such individual acts of provocation, the more they will multiply.

- We must never allow such acts to steer our steps from the path of dialogue. I believe this alliance allows us to stand firmly and jointly against any call to strife and violence.

- The world is wonderfully diverse and rich on human resources. And we have so much to share. I would like to mention that in Denmark we are about to celebrate an exciting historic anniversary of scientific and cultural relations with a number of Muslim countries. This is the “250 anniversary of the Royal Danish scientific expedition to the Near East”.

- I would like to use this opportunity to make it clear once again that it is of utmost importance for the Danish government to maintain and continue to develop the friendship and good relations that have always characterized the relationship between Denmark and the Muslim world.

- Denmark is highly appreciative of the creativity and flexibility with which the High Representative has conducted the activities – from Rapid Response Media Mechanism and to Dialogue Café. To mention a few.

- I think the growing membership of the Group of Friends, which has now even surpassed 120, is another very strong indicator of the success of the Alliance.

- This success, however, as mentioned by H.E. Sampaio, is also a challenge. How do we maintain and strengthen the particular nature of this Alliance.

- We attach key importance to securing the distinct character of the Alliance of Civilizations. The light structure, flexibility and creativity of the Alliance are exactly what will ensure that it continues to add value through its concrete activities.

- Let me conclude by underlining the continuous strong Danish support to the Alliance of Civilizations and its activities. This is also reflected in the contributions Denmark has made to the Voluntary Trust Fund.

- We are looking very much forward to the third Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations next year in Qatar.