Interview: Rhodes Forum president says solidary development key to sustainable growth


ATHENS, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) — Global infrastructure construction and solidary development are key to sustainable growth and the world economy, said Vladimir Yakunin, president and founder of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” (Rhodes Forum).
“We need to work jointly in global projects in order to avoid conflicts, to help lower disparities and deal with contradictions of geo-economics zones,” Yakunin told Xinhua in a recent interview.

He spoke highly of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, saying: “Our Chinese colleagues went much further than we managed to do in Russia. While it is difficult to structure the idea of the Belt and Road Initiative, it is more difficult to implement the idea.”

He believes China has started to implement the idea with the creation of Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank.

“We do not talk only about growth, but also about development of the economy, of society which is the most essential element of the entire project,” he told Xinhua.

Yakunin said many European countries have expressed their interest in the Belt and Road Initiative and want to participate in the development of the project, which brings together many civilizations of Europe, Asia, China and the United States, resulting in the expansion of civilization dialogues, involving the entire planet.

Noting the importance of collaboration, Yakunin said the creation of development belts has become a real instrument of change from confrontation to peace and prosperity.

Although nations are culturally and historically different, they are all living on the same planet and should be interested in the development of the world, whether they are Chinese, Russian or European, said Yakunin.

“As we are united in a huge region, under the name of Eurasian culture, is it wise to divide Europe from Asia, especially with all the means of communications, with all the possibilities of collaboration and resources of development?” he asked.

He doubted the development model based on competition, saying that there is a need for a different set of values by adopting the model of solidary development.

Since its creation in 2002, the Rhodes Forum, which is held annually on the Greek island of Rhodes, has sought to promote a new culture of dialogue.