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Millennium World Peace Summit Under Way at U.N. HeadquartersAired August 29, 2000 - 1:15 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The Millennium World Peace Summit is under way at U.N. headquarters in New York with the goal of turning the world's many religion into a force for ending conflicts. But a conflict over the guest list already has proven that the devil is in the details.
Here's CNN's Frank Buckley.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A dramatic display of diversity opened the Millennium World Peace Summit of religious and spiritual leaders, the leaders answering the call to participate in what organizers see as an opportunity to examine whether religion can be used to support the peacemaking aims of the United Nations.
BAWA JAIN, SUMMIT SECRETARY-GENERAL: We have to ask a fundamental question: What role does religion have to play in helping resolve these conflicts or, on the other extreme, exacerbating these conflicts?
BUCKLEY: One religious leader who is not here, the Dalai Lama, at the request of China, at odds with the Tibetan Buddhist leader. That inspired a small group of protesters and a letter from Bishop Desmond Tutu, who suggested the U.N. was "caving in to pressure from the government of China." "If this is so," he wrote," it totally undermines the integrity of the United Nations and the credibility of the summit."
Organizers said a Tibetan delegation without the Dalai Lama would participate. And U.N. officials said they were only providing facilities for the event, not sponsoring it.
The Dalai Lama addressed the issue as he appeared on CNN Monday night via videophone from Dharamsala, India.
DALAI LAMA: I think they're explaining in order to develop wider sort of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of wider perspective. I think that's the only way. So I'm hoping the delegates there now, while discuss the serious matter, should be open, truthful, should not sort of too much as a formality, as well as too much diplomatic or, what say, hypocrisy. BUCKLEY (on camera): Organizers say what they don't want to do is to create an expression of their highest aspirations. Instead, they hope to gather a collection of commitments from the world's religious and spiritual leaders, who will return to their respective regions and engage in action to promote peace.
Frank Buckley, CNN, United Nations.
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