Speech of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Elbasy N.Nazarbayev at the opening of the First Congress


Dear leaders and representatives of world and traditional national religions!

Today, the ancient Kazakh land has been awarded a great honor - it invites leaders and high representatives of world and traditional national religions from all over the globe to a dialogue between civilizations and religions.

I welcome you on the Kazakh land, I want to express my sincere gratitude that you responded to our invitation to gather together.

I am grateful to the highest Muslim personalities: To the Supreme Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Muhammad Said Tantawi, the Secretary General of the World Islamic League, Sheikh Abdullah bin Abdul Muhsin Al-Turki and representatives of other Muslim organizations of other countries. We highly appreciate your participation at the Congress.

My deep gratitude to His Holiness Pope John Paul II for his high attention and support during the organization of the Congress.

I am grateful to His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia for supporting our Congress.

I would like to thank the leaders of Judaism, first of all, Jon Metzger for their high-level participation at the Congress.

I would also like to express my gratitude to the representatives of various denominations of Christianity who have arrived in Kazakhstan from various regions of the world.

We are very glad to see among us the leaders and representatives of the most ancient religions and civilizations of the East - Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Shintoism.

On your behalf, I would like to welcome the Distinguished guests of the Congress: ex-Prime Minister of Japan Tsutoma Hata, official representatives: from the UN Secretary General V. Sotirov, from the King of Saudi Arabia - Minister of Justice, Dr. Abdullah Al-Sheikh, from the President of Egypt - Minister of Waqfs and Islamic Affairs of the Republic of Egypt Mahmoud Zakzouk, as well as the delegation of Assisi from Italy, headed by Minister Thomas Geremek and spiritual mentor Lanfranco Serrini.

I also want to express my gratitude to all people of good will who supported the idea of holding a Congress of world and traditional national religions and enriched us with their advices.

Thank you for your support, for your contribution to the preservation of peace and mutual understanding on earth - for the common goal that unites us all and for which we have gathered here in Astana today.