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UN Alliance of Civilisations Mediation Centre to be opened in Istanbul: High Representative

March 18, 2022 at 9:40 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkiye on 14 March 2022 [Aytaç Ünal/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations Alliance of Civilisations (UNAOC) will open a Mediation Centre office in Turkiye’s metropolitan city of Istanbul this year, said the High Representative, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, which concluded last week, Miguel Angel Moratinos said that “We’ve been working hand in hand with the Turkish Government. They already told me personally that we can count on the full support of Turkiye to the Alliance’s work.”

The Alliance will be very active in the coming years and it has already opened an office in Geneva past November, he noted.

The UNAOC was established in 2005, as the political initiative of Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General and co-sponsored by the Governments of Spain and Turkiye.

“We hope that during the year we’ll be able to open it. It’s already agreed politically. We are in the legal aspect of having the office to be opened in Istanbul,” he added.

READ: Ukraine calls for Turkey to be guarantor in Russia ceasefire deal

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has given his full support to the Centre during Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s recent visit to Ankara, said Moratinos, adding they hope to open the Centre by the end of the year.

 Russia-Ukraine War

Moratinos said that the war between Russia and Ukraine is not “the Russian civilisation against the Western civilisation.”

“It is lack of understanding and between the Europeans and the West and Russian Federation, is the failure of diplomacy till just now,” he added.

He said President Erdogan and Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu’s efforts to bring the two parties to the negotiation table should be commended.

Moratinos said that the core issues of this war should be discussed, or the situation will cause instability and insecurity in Europe.

“It’s time for engaging to make a ceasefire as soon as possible. At the same time, try to look for what is going to be the future after the crisis. And I think we have to be very careful not to enter in this clash of civilisation that doesn’t exist in this conflict,” he added.

Moratinos said Russophobia is also unacceptable; adding Russia’s war on Ukraine should be rejected, as well as an “anti-Russian campaign”.

“People cannot drink vodka, people cannot read Dostoyevsky, to listen to the music etc. Russophobia attitude has to be eliminated,” he said.

READ: Erdogan: Turkiye will not send refugees back

The inequality of the treatment of refugees coming from Ukraine, but originally from African or Middle Eastern countries is also unacceptable, Moratinos said, adding, “We have to really engage on that.”

“And then we will help prepare ourselves to organise what is going to be a new world. In the new world, you have to understand each new actor that has the right to have their say, and their commitment was the new multilateralism,” he said, adding it is important to include China, African countries, Latin American countries, Russia.”

And then the Alliance of Civilisations could make bridges among these new actors in order to build up what is going to be the new security and stability framework for the 21st century

he added.

The Russia-Ukraine war, which started on 24 February, has drawn international condemnation, led to financial restrictions on Moscow, and spurred an exodus of global firms from Russia.

At least 816 civilians have been killed and 1,333 injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, the UN said, while noting that figure is actually probably higher.

More than 3.27 million people have also fled to neighbouring countries, said the UN refugee agency.