ROME: Malaysia has agreed to establish diplomatic ties with the Holy See aimed at promoting bonds of mutual friendship and strengthening international cooperation.
The formal pact was reached upon after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak met Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Roman Catholic Church Monday at his Papal summer palace in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome.
The link allows the formation of relations at ambassadorial level on the part of Malaysia and at the level of Apostolic Nunciatune on the part of the Holy See.
The move follows the footsteps of other Muslim-majority nations such as Indonesia, Iraq, Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, the Arab League and majority members of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Najib who was accompanied by his wife Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor, was given a guard of honour and a red carpet welcome at the heavily guarded Castel Gandolfo, a small Italian town where the Pope spends the summer.
In the meeting with the Pope, Najib put forth his concept for a “Global Movement of Moderates” initiative to counter extremism of all forms.
He said as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, Malaysia has drawn on the values of moderation to ensure continued harmony, stability and prosperity.
Najib added that Malaysia was keen on sharing its experience with the world and that was why Malaysia was committed to forging links and alliances with like-minded countries to promote world peace and harmony.
“This is the main reason why Malaysia established diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
“The world is at the crossroads, the forces of irrationality and
discord are threatening our long-cherished and hard-gained stability, and prosperity.
“What is worst is that certain quarters use religion to justify acts of terrorism,” he said.
Najib said Malaysia and the Holy See were committed to surmount such negative forces by employing the powers of reason and moderation.
Najib was accompanied by Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, National
Fatwa Council chairman Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin and Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Xavier Pakiam.
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