COMMENDING PRESIDENT NURSULTAN NAZARBAYEV OF THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN
(Extensions of Remarks - April 25, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E552]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


COMMENDING PRESIDENT NURSULTAN NAZARBAYEV OF THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN

                                 ______
                                 

                       HON. ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA

                           of american samoa

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, April 25, 2013

  Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend the Republic 
of Kazakhstan on the 10th anniversary of President Nursultan 
Nazarbayev's initiative in establishing the Congress of Leaders of 
World and Traditional Religions.
  In the 111th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously 
passed H. Res. 535, a Resolution I introduced to commend the Congress 
of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions for calling upon all 
nations to live in peace and mutual understanding.
  The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions has always 
been based on the premise that religion can be an important arbiter for 
resolving political differences and conflicts, and I am pleased that 
The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions has created 
a platform for building bridges of mutual understanding. The Congress 
has become an effective forum for leaders of world religions to promote 
a united approach to the critical issue of interreligious dialogue.
  The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions also has 
become a full-fledged platform for multi-track-discussions on the most 
pressing issues of international religious affairs. Kazakhstan's 
capital, Astana, has hosted four high-profile gatherings of senior 
clerics from Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism 
and other faiths. It was my privilege to attend a gathering of the 
Congress which included participation from The Church of Jesus Christ 
of Latter-day Saints, the Christian denomination of which I am a 
member.
  A symbol of tolerance, Astana was a center for interreligious 
discussions during Kazakhstan's 2010 OSCE Chairmanship and the 
subsequent Organization of Islamic Cooperation Ministerial Chairmanship 
in 2011-2012. As a secular state with a predominantly Muslim 
population, Kazakhstan has been working to promote tolerance and 
interreligious dialogue since the first days of its independence. As 
the world was recovering from the aftermath of 9/11, Kazakhstan 
responded to international grievances by convening a Congress of 
Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
  President Nazarbayev also has met with Pope Benedict XVI and other 
high-ranking representatives of the Vatican, focusing discussions on 
the necessity for further development of interreligious dialogue. The 
visit of John Paul Pope II in Kazakhstan in 2001 as well as a visit to 
the Vatican by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2009 indicates that an 
active bilateral cooperation exists.
  In February 2013, the Chairman of Kazakhstan's Senate and Head of the 
Secretariat of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional 
Religions Kairat Mami also met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican 
and expressed gratitude to the Holy See for support of the Congress.
  During these meetings, Pope Benedict XVI praised the efforts of 
President Nazarbayev in preserving intercultural understanding and 
accord, and wished success, especially in the strengthening of peace.
  At the Vatican, Kazakhstan's Chairman of the Agency for Religious 
Affairs Kairat Lama Sharif and the Cardinals of the Holy See also 
discussed the prospects of the Congress of Astana and the deepening of 
interreligious relations. As Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of 
Cardinals of the Holy See, stated, ``I think that the idea of the 
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to hold the Congress of 
Leaders of World and Traditional Religions is very important. This is a 
great contribution to the development of interreligious dialogue. And 
very big work has been conducted for the past 10 years. This year the 
diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and the Vatican is 21. During 
all this time the mutual aspiration for interreligious and 
intercultural concord only has strengthened.''
  An organized photo exhibition at the Vatican was devoted to the 10th 
anniversary of the Congress, and the photo exhibition will now be 
displayed in the U.S. Capitol during a reception to be held on May 7, 
2013. I am honored to participate in this worthy cause.
  Once more, I commend President Nazarbayev for his visionary 
leadership. President Nazarbayev is a man committed to peace, and I 
stand with him as he spares no effort to advance understanding. For 
historical purposes, I thank him for establishing the Congress of 
Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, and for promoting religious 
dialogue between people of all faiths.

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