The pursuit of peace is one of the highest of human endeavours. A high level conference at the Brussels Press Club last week focused on international conflict resolution, featuring many speakers from a former military background, who reiterated this aphorism. Nobody truly values peace as much as an old soldier does.
Discussing a number of ongoing conflicts, delegates considered the relevance of the world’s current mechanisms of conflict resolution, and looked at alternative options for the future.
Against the backdrop of the current crisis in Kashmir, which sees two nuclear powers facing up against one another even at the time of writing, with their fingers on triggers that could lead to global annihilation, the mood of the conference was sombre.
However, optimism prevailed and several unconventional models of conflict resolution were discussed.
Brussels based journalist Gary Cartwright, a veteran of the Northern Ireland “troubles” of the late 70’s and early 80’s told of how his hatred of an “enemy” was turned into an embrace of a peace process that he had never imagined possible. “When I heard about the Good Friday Agreement, I was spitting blood”, Cartwright told this website. “I could not accept that our politicians could sit down and debate with terrorists who tried to kill me, and who I wanted to kill. Now I see peace, and I say thank God for the Good Friday Agreement. I just don’t want to see any more dead children.”
Kashmiri politician and human rights campaigner, Masood Iqbal Mir, echoed this pro-peace sentiment when he voiced his support for a proposed initiative from the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has called for an urgent debate between the leaders of China, the European Union, Russia, and the United States of America in order to address the rising incidence of armed conflicts in the world today.
“The United States – the Russian Federation – the People’s Republic of China – the EU should find new formats of dialogue – we are talking about the fate of our civilisation. After the First World War, the world powers created the League of Nations, then, after the Second World War – the United Nations. It is obvious that to settle the rising confrontations is a difficult challenge. Nevertheless, I propose Astana as a platform for these four parties to discuss the problems in the sphere of economics, politics and security,” the leader of Central Asia’s leading economy, and the first post-Soviet leader to unilaterally abandon nuclear weapons, stated.
Kazakhstan held the Chair of the United Nations Security Council during January 2018, the first Central Asian country to do so. During this time, the country promoted a number of peace and anti-terrorism initiatives, and President Nazarbayev cemented his position on the world stage as a major advocate of peace and reconciliation.
It is proposed that a major conference will take place in in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, in 2020, to debate security and defence at a global level.
This will coincide with the 45th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which the Kazakh President has identified as being in need of reform in order to make it more relevant to the modern day.