The foreign ministers of Armenia and Greek Cyprus will participate in the UN-sponsored Alliance of Civilizations summit in Istanbul on April 6 and 7, while a speech by visiting U.S. President Barack Obama is off the table.
Foreign ministers from 30 countries, four presidents and representatives from international organizations will be present at the Second Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations aimed at promoting inter-faith dialogue. The event will be at the historic Çırağan Palace.
Obama is expected to participate in some parts of the panel, but he will not deliver a speech at the forum. The United States is not a member of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilizations, a project that was launched by the Turkish and Spanish prime ministers in 2005 and later backed by the United Nations. It has been learned that the U.S. policy to become a part of the group under the new Obama administration is under review. Iran, a member of the Group of Friends, has been invited for the summit but no response has been given yet.
Among the participating leaders are Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, whose candidacy for next secretary-general of NATO is still being evaluated by Turkey. It has not been yet clarified if Afghan President Hamid Kharzai, who will be in Ankara for another round of trilateral talks with Pakistan next week, will attend the summit. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan could meet with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, on the sidelines of the summit.
The forum will start with working breakfasts on April 6. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and high representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, will make opening remarks.
After the opening session, a photograph of the participating leaders will be taken, and the forum will continue with he two sessions, "Shaping the Global Agenda in Times of Crisis Ğ Why Does Good Governance of Cultural Diversity Matter?" and "Enhancing Dialogue and Strengthening Cooperation: Connecting Innovative Policies and Initiatives."
In the afternoon, there will be a high-level brainstorming meeting of the Group of Friends to be followed by simultaneous working sessions, including the Dialogue Caf Project, aimed at bringing together ordinary people at the digital world and help them exchange views. President Abdullah Gül will give an official dinner at the Dolmabahçe Palace and later there will be a fashion show "Caftans of Sultans" by designer Faruk Saraç.
On the second day of the forum, after working sessions Ğ including one on the "Cost of Conflict in the Middle East Ğ Babacan, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and Sampaio will deliver closing remarks at a news conference. Before the opening of the forum, Babacan will inaugurate an exhibition "They had faith in Turkey" on April 5.