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Bangkok home to peace council

Publication Date : 06-09-2012


The Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC), which was officially established yesterday, will set up its secretariat in Thailand.

The council's role will be to provide "silent and quiet diplomacy" to solve conflict was well as to restore peace and reconciliation in Asia and around the globe.

Former decision-makers, senior diplomats and academics, mostly from Asia and some from Europe, announced the establishment of the organisation dedicated to peace after their two-day preparatory meeting in Bangkok.

Details of the council's structure will be finalised before the end of this year.

Members of the council, such as former president of East Timor and Noble Peace laureate Jose Ramos Horta, former Malaysian prime minister Abdullah Badawi and former Pakistani prime minister Shaukat Aziz, agreed they would meet once a year.

Its secretariat would be registered as a non-profit foundation under Thai law, said former Thai deputy prime minister and foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai, who chaired the meeting yesterday.

"However the APRC members are global citizens who do not and will not represent any government, country or political party," Surakiart said in the chairman's statement.

There are pockets of conflict and potential conflict within and between societies in Asia - ranging from ethnic, religious, land boundary, maritime territorial to political disputes - that provide issues for the newly set up council to address, he said, but declined to be specific on which conflicts were under review.

Former Pakistani PM Aziz said the council would play a role or be involved in a conflict only when the stakeholders in such a conflict requested it and allowed it to do its work.

The council would operate on the principle of non-interference, silent/quiet diplomacy, consensus and inclusiveness, Surakiart said.

"The council may choose to engage in any conflict resolution process, provided all parties involved grant their consent," he said.

There are many organisations and mechanisms to engage in |and resolve conflict around the world, Surakiart said. But the APRC was unique as it consisted of founding members who could offer a wealth of knowledge, experience and understanding of bureaucracy, social political structure and realities in the region as well as first-hand knowledge in the political decision-making process.

The council would be a non-governmental and impartial body with unparalleled access to decision-makers involved in conflict situations, he said. The council could provide a comfort level for parties in a conflict to find peace and reconciliation, Surakiart said.


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