al jazeera annual form kicks off
Last Updated : GMT 11:59:16
Egypt Today, egypt today
Egypt Today, egypt today
Last Updated : GMT 11:59:16
Egypt Today, egypt today

Al Jazeera Annual Form Kicks Off

Egypt Today, egypt today

Egypt Today, egypt today Al Jazeera Annual Form Kicks Off

Chairman of the Board of Al Jazeera Media Network HE Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani
Doha - QNA

Chairman of the Board of Al Jazeera Media Network HE Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani inaugurated today the 11th Al Jazeera Forum entitled "State Crisis and the Future of the Middle East".
The Chairman welcomed the participants, extending his special thanks to the guests who came from outside Qatar to participate in this forum. He said that they strived this year to make the forum Al as a platform for deep and constructive dialogue for political leaders, intellectuals, and activists to exchange ideas and visions on the various current issues. The forum would also help those different parties discuss the causes and implications of those issues, His Excellency added.
The Chairman of Al Jazeera said that the forum is taking place in a time where the Arab Region is experiencing important transformations which have global implications.
For his part, HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud said that the Arab World has been witnessing an increasing number of struggles that had a detrimental impact on humanitarian conditions in the region. This was evident in a country like Syria which has seen a large number of killings and refugees as a result of the stubbornness of the Syrian regime and the crime it committed, His Excellency added.
Giving the first keynote speech of the forum, HE Al Mahmoud provided a comprehensive overview of Qatar's role in resolving the crisis n Darfur since its first involvement back in 2008 until the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in 2011.
His Excellency also discussed Qatar's methods in resolving crises and how Arab countries can benefit from, particularly Qatar's mediation efforts in Darfur and the innovative mechanisms it used in to deal with the many challenges its successfully overcame. His Excellency also noted that the success was because Qatar's main goal was to achieve what's in the best interest of the people of Darfur.
HE Al Mahmoud said that it was the support of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani was the main reason behind signing the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur. His Excellency said that there were many organizations in the Arab world that can play a role in resolving crises. Out of them all, HE Al Mahmoud said that the GCC had the best potential of success due to its capabilities and methods of dealing with problems.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister also said that it was important to try to understand the reasons behind the region's crises and the ways they can be managed and eventually resolved. His Excellency added that crises are not a group of separate events, they are linked through a complex web.
On ways for the Arab world to try and resolve crises, HE Al Mahmoud said that there were two options. The first was for an institutional method, the second is by having each country working to resolve crises unilaterally. On the first method, HE the Deputy Prime Minister noted that the Arab League established the Arab Peace and Security Council Affair Department to resolve crises. His Excellency however said that the department did not act at a time were the Arab League faced many challenges in terms of its structure and the differing visions of member countries. 
HE Al Mahmoud said that those two factors indicate that the Arab League did try to play a part. The Arab League actually began working on the Darfur crisis back in 2004 when it issued a statement and called for establishing a committee that investigates conditions in the region. Those efforts continued, His Excellency added, in October 2008 when the Arab League formed a committee comprised of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Algeria, Egypt, and Libya to deal with the crisis.  
HE Al Mahmoud said that the State of Qatar was keen from day one of its involvement in mediation in Darfur to include African countries, due to its importance in reaching a peaceful resolution. The State of Qatar proposed establishing an Arab-African ministerial committee of 12 countries, comprised from six countries on both sides. Qatar was then chosen to chair the committee. The committee urged in its first meeting, which took place in 2009 in New York in coordination with the African Union and the United Nations, the different parties in Sudan to respond to the efforts made to hold peace talks, and set a timetable for negotiations. His Excellency noted that the participation of African countries along with their Arab counterparts was a turning point for efforts to resolve the crisis. 
On the key features of Qatar's mediation efforts, HE the Deputy Prime Minister said that it was the indirect participation of civil society in negotiations with the involved parties. His Excellency added that Qatar found early on that the participation of the people of Darfur in negotiation alongside the government and armed groups was key to establishing peace. 
Based on the outcomes of negotiations between the government and armed groups, a draft peace agreement was formed. It was then followed by a conference that allowed both sides of the conflict to look into the draft and provide their respective points of view on them. Then after a number of discussion sessions, the parties involved announced their acceptance of the document as a foundation for peace. 
His Excellency said that the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur became the framework for resolving the crisis in Darfur and reaching any agreement between different parties. The document has a number of aspects including the sharing of power, and wealth. It also includes the respect of human rights, a permanent ceasefire, and the establishment of internal dialogue mechanism among other aspects. The document also became not open to renegotiation for logical reasons, His Excellency said, as well as legal reasons. It also became a property of the people of Darfur. Different groups however can add to the document any agreement that helps speed up the peace process. 
HE Al Mahmoud noted that the document was recognized as official by the African Union, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the United Nations. It was also backed by the GCC and the European Union. It was also included in the Sudanese constitution. 
HE the Deputy Prime Minister then reviewed a number of measures that were introduced by Qatari mediation efforts for the first time in the history of peace agreements. One of those measures was the establishment of a follow up commission. Previously, the follow up of implementation was left to the parties signing the agreement. 
However this time, the Doha Document for peace stated that a committee chaired by Qatar must be form and is charged with monitoring the implementation of the agreement and discussing any challenges facing the agreement on the ground and dealing with it. This committee has held 12 meetings so far in Darfur, Doha and Khartoum. It showed proactivity in dealing with any challenges and in implementing the agreement. 
His Excellency noted that the Qatari mediation efforts faced a number of challenges but relied on patience from all parties involved in Darfur and the international community to deal with these challenges. The first one was determining the nature of crisis and whether it was political or ethnic or otherwise. HE Al Mahmoud said that this challenge took while to deal with and formulate a negotiation agenda based on it. Dealing with that challenged required going back to understand the nature of the crisis and how it began and then how it developed. 
Another challenge according to HE the Deputy Prime Minister was regional interference that was harmful to the peace process. His Excellency noted that the Arab role in the Darfur crisis was not always united and that the Qatari mediation faced a lot of interference from many Arab entities that at some point became an obstacle to the mediation efforts. His Excellency expressed his regret at such moves that saw one Arab country announce another platform for negotiations before later withdrawing these efforts. His Excellency maintained on the other the presence of Arab countries that were honest in their efforts. 
Qatar's ability to deal with such pressure gave it even more credibility among the negotiating parties and internationally. His Excellency noted that this was paramount to the success of peace, particularly as other regional countries were looking to find solutions that suited their agenda. 
Another challenge, HE the Deputy Prime Minister said, was the division among armed groups. This made the negotiations to reach a comprehensive solution much slower as each group had its own negotiation process and position, His Excellency added. This meant that Qatar had to play a big role in trying to bring the position of armed groups closer together even though that was not supposed to be Qatar's role, His Excellency added. 
HE Al Mahmoud said that some of the struggles in the Arab world see certain parties request their own sovereign rule away from the central government. His Excellency said that Qatar worked from the first day on dismissing this idea, due to the result it had on the South which was obvious to all parties involved. Instead, Qatar worked on resolving the administrative issues resulting from dealing with the central government. This led to the idea of holding an administrative referendum that allows the people of Darfur to determine how do they want to manage their region in a united way or as a group of different states. The people of Darfur chose to be run as a group of five states that are treated equally to other states in Sudan. 
His Excellency said that Qatar has a clear position that prevents it from engaging in mediation efforts that would lead to the division of Arab countries or any other one. 
Another challenge was the emergence of other mediation efforts, HE the Deputy Prime Minister said. His Excellency referred to the African mediation efforts chaired by former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki. The mediating parties involved were alert early on to the potentially disruptive results having two mediation efforts can have on the struggle in Sudan in general. That is why the two sides managed to determine what role can they both play in ensuring peace talks become a success. 
His Excellency also noted that the State of Qatar put a lot of effort into building trust and communication with the parties involved, particularly with the negotiators of armed groups. Such efforts included signing agreements of goodwill and confidence building. 
Another challenge was establishing a timeframe for negotiations. His Excellency said that it was an important tool in managing negotiations and needed to be designed carefully as it could have a negative result on the quality of negotiations if it the timeframe was too short. HE Al Mahmoud said that the Qatari mediation efforts were keen on avoiding what happened in Abuja, where the focus was on reaching an agreement instead of actually mediating between the negotiating parties. This was one of the reasons why the negotiations in Darfur took a relatively longer time, His Excellency said. 
On the lessons learned, HE Al Mahmoud said that it was to carefully analyze the position of the parties involved in the crisis and their interests before beginning any peace process. Another lesson was that mediation efforts should not be based on personal or political agendas, His Excellency added. HE Al Mahmoud noted in that regard that Qatar's interest was to ensure the success of the peace process. His Excellency added that the support of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani showed that a third lesson is to have faith and give confidence to those in charge of mediation process. Another key lesson learned was to remain objective when carrying out the mediation process. His Excellency noted that the State of Qatar maintained good relations with all parties involved in the struggle, whether inside Sudan or outside it. The support of the international community and regional support was also essential for the mediation efforts to succeed. 
Another key lesson according to HE the Deputy Prime Minister is that reaching an agreement is only important if it is implemented. The implementation should also be accompanied with a developmental and re-building process that takes place ahead of the political settlements in order to give the people a sense of peace and stability. His Excellency noted that this was what Qatar did when it held the International Donor Conference for Darfur back in 2013. 
His Excellency noted that there was no model for conducting a peace process as different struggles and crises had different reasons and motivations. Despite that, there were lessons to be learned from each struggle that could be valuable for the future. 
For his part, General Coordinator of the Opposition Higher Negotiations Committee of Syria Riyad Hijab discussed the tragic developments in Syria. He said that the Syrian crisis became a cause for alarm internationally. He added that the biggest challenge facing the Syrian opposition was removing this sectarian regime and confronting expansionist projects in Syria.

Source :QNA


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