President of Russia Medvedev: Dear Mr Director-General, Your Holiness, dear guests,
I welcome the opportunity to meet and talk with you about the high level group for interreligious dialogue under the aegis of UNESCO's Director-General. I believe that this is an interesting and highly relevant initiative. I hope that this group will be a well-grounded, popular tool which will allow us to accomplish a variety of tasks, enhance the credibility of UNESCO and, naturally, promote interreligious dialogue — the main purpose of this group.
Russia has its own place in the sun and unique experience of interreligious dialogue, experience which has accumulated over centuries. In general we believe that this is very advantageous; it has helped us create a great country which develops and lives according to countrywide laws, a country where the fundamental rights of religious denominations are respected, where civil peace and harmony reign.
And of course we consider it absolutely correct that this experience and the difficulties faced by individual countries be discussed at the global level, including through the mechanisms provided by UNESCO. Therefore, we believe that a number of previous forums such as the World Summit of Religious Leaders (held in Moscow in 2006) and conferences, particularly the conference in Madrid in 2008 [Madrid Interfaith Dialogue Conference], as well as the Congress of World and Traditional Religions in Astana and others, are generally designed to achieve the goals you are discussing today.
I am pleased to welcome you again to Moscow. I hope that your conversation will be interesting and productive. I am delighted to see you once again and all our colleagues who are present here. And naturally I wish the high level group for interreligious dialogue success.