Sharing African Experience to End War

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African mediators share experience to help resolve conflict at a retreat in Zanzibar. The retreat, which includes the former Tanzanian President and peace envoys working in Cote d'Ivoire, Sudan, Central African Republic, Congo, Somalia and Burundi, aims to support those aiming to resolve conflict through peaceful means by helping them to share experience of challenges and solutions.

African mediators will be meeting in Zanzibar on 23-25 April 2007 to share their experience of challenges and solutions to peace-making in Africa.

The objective of the retreat, supported by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is to focus on specific examples in an attempt to improve the practice of mediating between warring factions on the continent.

"We may have had terrible experiences of war in Africa, but we also have a tremendous experience of peacemaking. We must seize the opportunity to share that experience in order to benefit from it." said Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, before a retreat of eminent African Mediators in Zanzibar today.

Dr Salim, African Union Special Envoy, Chief Mediator of the Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks, and chairman of the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, co-hosts of the retreat, confirmed his hopes for the meeting.

"Although we may sometimes lack resources, there is an abundance of will and energy in Africa to bring peace to our continent. Bringing these together while building on shared experience is another demonstration of our hope and commitment to achieving peace in places like Darfur and Somalia." he said.

The retreat, which includes the former Tanzanian President and peace envoys working in Cote d'Ivoire, Sudan, Central African Republic, Congo, Somalia and Burundi, is taking place with a determination to support those aiming to resolve conflict through peaceful means.

"The world is changing the way it looks at ending war." said Martin Griffiths, Director of the other co-host, the Geneva based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

"Every person attending this retreat recognises it as an opportunity to collaborate on mediation efforts as never before." he said.

"Some of us hope that sharing our own experience from other parts of the world may help to contribute to peace in Africa and to the positive momentum we see here today." said Griffiths, who has facilitated processes in Darfur, Burundi, Aceh, Myanmar, and the Philippines among others.

"We also hope to draw on the lessons of so many experienced African professionals as a contribution to helping resolve conflicts elsewhere." he said.

The closed door meeting will be held in a discreet environment to encourage problem-solving and the open exchange of learning and experience.

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue is an independent and impartial organisation whose purpose is to reduce human suffering in war by preventing and resolving armed conflicts. The HD Centre is active in a number of conflict resolution projects around the world, promoting and facilitating dialogue among belligerents. It also conducts research, analysis and facilitates dialogue advancing practical policy recommendations to improve international efforts to secure and sustain peace.

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