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His Highness, Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar,

Her Highness, SheikaMozahbint Nasser Al Missned,

Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban ki-moon,

Distinguished Heads of State and Government,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My first words are of gratitude towards the People and the Government of Qatar for hosting the Fourth United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Forum. The strong commitment of Qatar to the Alliance was already eloquently expressed by SheikhaMozabintNasser in her speech at the opening ceremony of the Third Forum, which took place in Rio de Janeiroin 2010. I am hopeful that the Fourth International Forum shall produceimportant results byfostering harmony and promoting tolerance among peoples of different beliefs and origins.

We live in a historical moment of intense turmoil and profound change. Globalization and the modern means of communication have exposed Governments and societies to phenomena that not long ago had a merely local impact, thus imposing increased challenges to the international community as a whole.

The threat of conflict and dissent has increased dramatically in recent times.  As it stimulates violence, intolerance constitutes an obstacle to peace, as shown by the hurdles involved in the creation of a free and sovereign Palestine State, one that lives in peace and security side by side with Israel.

The economic crisis in developed countries demands fast decisions on the appropriate economic adjustment measures from all Governments. However, these mechanisms need to be combined with strengthened social programs, in order to avoid that the burden of the economic crisisfalls upon the more vulnerable groups.We know that the economic crisis has the potential to exacerbate intolerance and xenophobia. To be on guard against this trend is an obligation of all countries truly engaged in the Alliance of Civilizations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the Security Council Brazil has stressed that development and security are closely interrelated as essential elements for sustainable peace. There can be no peace and security in a society that does not meet the basic needs of its people. It is on the basis of this conviction that the Brazilian government has implemented public policies based on recommendations from Civil Society. This approach has generated important benefits in the social sphere and positive effects in the economy.

We see in the world nowadays a succession of popular calls for change which has produced a new political landscape. The political process in these countries is still evolving. The challenge now is to find legitimate and effective ways to help the countries that claim for reform while assuring that State and citizens forge an alliance to put forward stabilization and lay the grounds for the construction of improved governance. At the same time, it is necessary to stop violence wherever it is taking place. Only then will it be possible to implement the so needed political reforms.The League of the Arab States and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulfhave an important role in achieving peaceful and lasting solutions in this region. The Alliance of Civilizations – with its call for dialogue – plays a fundamental role in this context.

Violence against civil society must be rejected regardless of where it happens. Nevertheless, we should also be aware of the possible unintended consequences of action carried out by the international community based on the legitimate concerns with populations under threat. This is why Brazil has launched a debate in the Security Council on the Responsibility while Protecting, a concept we believe is both essential and complementary to the Responsibility to Protect. The two concepts should walk hand in hand in order to avoid undesirable harm to the civil population.Their application on the ground must be monitored by the Security Council, acting upon the principle of a collective responsibility committed to peace and the protection of civilians.

At the same, let us not forgetthat the most potentially destabilizing threats come from countries that accumulate significant military power. This fact obliges us to persist in efforts to achieve disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In promoting dialogue, the Alliance of Civilizations is a source of encouragement to initiatives that are important to Brazilian Foreign Policy. This is the case of the Summit between South America and the Arab Countries (ASPA), the Summit between South America and Africa (ASA) and the IBAS Forum (India, Brazil and South Africa), which gathers three big, multiethnic and multicultural democracies. These are fora that gather countries that are diverse among themselves and that coordinate policies to the benefit of their peoples.

Those who were present at the Third International Forum in Rio witnessed that Brazil is a country of many cultures, religions and ethnicities, a country that is proud of these traits and is engaged in promoting developmentnot only within its borders, but also in other developing countries. I here mention another fact of strong symbolism against intolerance: Brazil has today as Head of State a woman, revealing the equality of genders.

I conclude by paraphrasing Mahatma Gandhi: “no culture blossoms if it is closed to other cultures”.Brazil shares this conviction and would like, on the basis of it, to to restate here its commitment to advance the agenda of the Alliance of Civilizations.

Thank you very much.

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