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    INTERRELIGIOUS COUNCIL: NEW PERMANENT BODY FOR CIS TO BENEFIT

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 4, RIA NOVOSTI - Novosti is offering a Statement on the Commonwealth of Independent States establishing its Interreligious Council. We obtained the text from the communications service of the Moscow Patriarchate Department of External Church Relations.

    "We spiritual leaders of member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States testify to fully preserving and augmenting centuries-old traditions of interreligious partnership. The present-day scope of our mutual understanding allows us to cross the limits of regular interreligious conferences for a higher level of team efforts.

    "As successful previous activities of permanent interreligious structures proves, the said structures make contacts between religions as fruitful and effective as possible. As we see it, now is high time for Commonwealth countries' religious leaders to pool their efforts on a CIS Interreligious Council, which is posing itself the following objectives:

    "(1) To coordinate teamwork by religious organisations established in the CIS countries for a stronger interethnic and interreligious peace, social accord and stability, progress of a dialogue between religious leaders, joint efforts in the face of shared challenges, and affirmation of traditional spiritual values in the public.

    "(2) To promote partnership of Commonwealth countries through closer links between religious leaders and communities thereof.

    "(3) To maintain regular and comprehensive opinion exchanges on Church-State relations, peacemaking, social missions, and other essential matters.

    "We hope the efforts of the CIS Interreligious Council will be to the benefit of our countries and nations, of all our compatriots, whatever religion they may profess, and of all men and women of goodwill."

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