CAVUSOGLU: Surge in diplomacy and mediation

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By MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU
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Situated right next to a vast region where some acute active and frozen conflicts persist, Turkey sees the prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts as a central feature of its enterprising and humanitarian foreign policy.

Indeed, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed his willingness to further develop the UN’s mediation support capacity.

His efforts are most commendable.

This is why we call upon all the UN member states to support his broad vision and efforts to prevent and solve today’s conflicts.

And Turkey is pleased that it has been doing its part, which is evident in the hosting of the fourth edition of the Istanbul Conference on Mediation, which took place last weekend under the theme, “Surge in Diplomacy, Action in Mediation.”

Turkey has been hosting these conferences on mediation since 2012.

The meetings are designed to bring together numerous practitioners and scholars of conflict prevention and mediation.

The aim is to promote synergies between theory and practice and help increase the scope, reach and effectiveness of the international community’s mediation efforts.

I must pay tribute to the efforts of the mediators engaged daily in seeking an end to conflicts worldwide.

Turkey undertakes various peace-making efforts in a wide geography from Africa to the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

This mainly because it sees peace-making in a humanitarian-development nexus, and is naturally an extension of the country’s growing reputation as one of the most generous nations in the world in terms of per capita humanitarian assistance.

Turkey has once again topped the list of most generous countries in humanitarian support as per percentage of their gross national income, according to a recent report published by the UK-based Development Initiatives organisation.

The ‘Global Humanitarian Assistance report 2017’, said Turkey spent close to $6 billion on humanitarian aid last year, coming only second after the United States, which spent $6.3 billion.

Turkey, however, was listed as the most generous country for spending 0.75 per cent of its gross national income on humanitarian causes.

Its profile on mediation in armed conflicts has been rising globally since Turkey and Finland led the way at the UN through the “Mediation for Peace” initiative.

This is what culminated in the establishment of the Group of Friends of Mediation.

The group now has 53 members, including 48 UN member states and five international organisations.

The group also stamped its footprint on this important aspect by actively contributing to the compilation of the 2012 “United Nations Guidance for Effective Mediation”.

This  is a fundamental document for those who practise and study mediation in conflicts worldwide.

It is, therefore, hardly surprising that the group has increasingly become the leading platform in the UN for promoting mediation to end conflicts and restore peace in countries and regions ravaged by conflicts.

It has, as part of its key achievements, initiated the adoption of four key UN General Assembly resolutions.

These are so crucial as they lay the ground for the development of the normative and conceptual framework of mediation, advancing the UN mission in the restoration of peace in conflict-ridden countries and regions. 

The potential of mediation in all stages of a conflict continuum, namely from prevention to resolution and all the way to peace agreement implementation and the models for greater employment of mediation, as a preventive tool in contexts where political, ethnic, and religious biases create an environment of hostility, are pertinent in conflict prevention and mediation.

The rise in attacks in Europe against Muslims and migrants is proof that prevention is key.

However, prevention is possible only when societies recognise and learn to respect differences and engage in genuine dialogue and interaction.

I believe that mediators well-equipped with the cultural codes of conduct in a given conflict can attain remarkable success.

We need to train more mediators, including youth, while encouraging more women and equipping them with the right tools.

The challenge to make peace an overwhelming reality on a global level is immense.

However, we should be able to see opportunities within those challenges.

The readiness and willingness of the international community to build capacity in the peaceful resolution of conflicts, including mediation, must be prioritised.

Mr Cavusoglu is the Turkish Foreign Minister

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