Istanbul conference discusses enhancing peace through new mediation initiatives

Istanbul conference discusses enhancing peace through new mediation initiatives

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul conference discusses enhancing peace through new mediation initiatives

General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser. UN Photo

A large number of mediation actors from the United Nations, international organizations and academics gathered yesterday in Istanbul for a mediation conference with the aim of presenting new related initiatives, providing a forum for an exchange of experiences and generating new ideas to develop mediation activities.

"The favorable outcome of mediation is success. Most of the mediators want to win the Nobel Peace Prize but pursuit of success could also lead one to failure and white lies which could hamper one's credibility as a mediator," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said, addressing the conference.

A mediator should defend values instead of specific interests and show sides of mediation and that one shares common values with them, he said.

Turkey has assumed a policy favoring diplomatic solutions to international and domestic disputes in its region, which Davutoğlu said was characterized by a number of "geopolitical earthquakes" after the end of the Cold War.

"A mediator has to patient. We need to agree with all sides that we are ready to sit around the same table," he said.  

Turkey launched the “Peace through Mediation” initiative with Finland in 2010 during the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and then pioneered the establishment of a “Friends of Mediation Group” at the U.N.

Different aspects of mediation, including the increasing relevance of nongovernmental actors in conflict resolution and the coordination and the capacity-building challenges associated with that are being discussed at the conference.

Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota and U.N. General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser participated in the gathering.

Tuomioja said an early-warning mechanism was needed in mediation efforts.

Al-Nasser, for his part, expressed his appreciation for Turkey’s support for the U.N. General Assembly and emphasized Turkey’s role in the Syrian crisis.

In mediation issues, parties should not view each other as competitors, he said, while also calling on women to take more part in mediation efforts.

As part of the conference, a simulation of mediation in the Cyprus dispute was shown by students from Sabancı University.