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Press Releases, 9/27/2010

Preparation of a UN Resolution on peace mediation to begin under the leadership of Finland and Turkey

Press Release 277/2010
24 September 2010

Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu of Turkey today, 24 September 2010, hosted an informal Ministerial meeting on peace mediation in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York. The peace initiative aims to strengthen the UN-led peace mediation efforts in the world’s conflicts.

In addition to the hosts, the informal Ministerial meeting was attended by foreign ministers from various regions of the world: Steven Vanacker of Belgium, Celso Amorim of Brazil, Micheál Martin of Ireland, Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway, Khalid Al-Attiyah of Qatar and Carl Bildt of Sweden. Spain and Switzerland were also represented. All twelve countries in attendance had been invited specifically on the basis of their activity in peace mediation efforts. President Martti Ahtisaari, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate recognized for his peace mediation work, was also present for Finland.

Lynn Pascoe, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, represented the UN Secretariat at the meeting. Chairman Jean Ping and Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra of the Commission of the African Union, Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, and Secretary-General İhsanoğlu of the Organization of the Islamic Conference represented key regional organizations. The OSCE brought the European regional perspective to the meeting.

The discussions resulted in the formation of a new group, the Friends of Mediation. The group, led by Finland and Turkey, is launching preparation of a UN Resolution on peace mediation, the aim being to strengthen the peace mediation mandate of the United Nations and increase both political and financial support for peace mediation. The purpose is to get UN Member States to make more active use of the mediation services already available and at the same time to improve the support for peace mediation offered by the UN. The UN and regional organizations should also enhance their mutual cooperation, so that the expertise of all can be utilised.

The aim is to present the draft Resolution to the General Assembly next spring. The intention is that, in future, peace mediation will be an official item on the agenda of the General Assembly, which it has not been so far.

In his speech, Foreign Minister Stubb emphasized the importance of increased cooperation among countries interested in peace mediation. Additional resources and new talents must be sought. Flexible means of solution are needed alongside traditional diplomacy. It must be possible in peace mediation work to engage in dialogue with all parties. In this context, the role of civil society organizations is pivotal. More women must be recruited as peace mediators.

In closing the seminar, President Martti Ahtisaari stressed the need for greater cooperation on mediation efforts among different actors – states, organizations and civil society. Being a good mediator requires well-functioning cooperation networks. A good mediator is also able to engage in dialogue with all parties.

Foreign Minister Stubb and Foreign Minister Davutoğlu announced that the next meeting of the Friends of Mediation will be held either in Finland or in Turkey within six months. The Friends of Mediation will meet regularly, and in the future the group will also convene in conjunction with the opening week of the UN General Assembly.

Additional information: Katri Viinikka, Head of the Unit for UN and General Global Affairs, mobile tel. +358 40 753 2730, Päivi Pohjanheimo, Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, mobile tel. +358 40 511 3786, and Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Press Attaché to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, mobile tel. +358 40 732 8340

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Updated 9/27/2010

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