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Stone for Peace in Kosovo marks start of the Week of Tolerance and Reconciliation

Pristina, Monday 20 May 2013 - Today Kosovo joins over 100 countries who have received the Stone for Peace, a symbol of a determined desire for peace. As Kosovo prepares to host international leaders and faith representatives throughout the Week of Tolerance and Reconciliation from 20-26 May, today’s event marks an important moment in reaffirming Kosovo’s commitment to harmony amongst its own diverse communities, with its neighbours in the region and as a good global citizen.

The Stone for Peace Association of Hiroshima was established in 1991 to promote peace and build linkages around the world by donating symbolic stones taken from paving in the city of Hiroshima, where the A-bomb blasted in August 1945. Pristina has now joined all those cities that have honoured victims of war with this dedicated symbol to wish for a more peaceful world.

At the Stone for Peace Ceremony, the President of Kosovo Afitete Jahjaga said:

“This stone bears the symbol of war that must never happen again, and that peace between people must prevail. Peace is always associated with tolerance, understanding and solidarity between people."

"Kosovo citizens know very well how valuable freedom and peace are and how necessary but painful reconciliation is. Even today, 14 years after the liberation of Kosovo, a bleeding wound remains as we have yet to know fate of the missing, alongside the  victims lost and the very serious consequences caused by war"

The Stone for Peace ceremony is took place on Monday afternoon at the National Museum in a ceremony hosted by President Atifete Jahjaga, with Deputy Culture Minister Hajdin Abazi, and the Mayor of Pristina Isa Mustafa. The Japanese Ambassador to Kosovo H.E Shigeo Iwatani also attended, along with representatives of the Stone for Peace Association.

The Principal of the Stone for Peace Association of Hiroshima, Mr Michio Umemoto said:

"We certainly witness the process of recovery here in Kosovo which is no different from the path Hiroshima has followed. The forgiveness beyond the hardship your people experienced impressed us most."

For further information on the Stone for Peace Ceremony and all other Tolerance Week events, please visit the Interfaith Kosovo website on http://interfaithkosovo.org/ or follow @InterfaithRKS on twitter using #Interfaith #Kosovo #interfaithkosovo .

Further information on the Stone for Peace Association is available on their website:
http://stone-for-peace.org/english/05asso/en-asso01.html