Secretary-General praises Asian forum for resolving disputes peacefully

25 August 2008

The Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building in Asia (CICA), which brings the region’s nations together to discuss wide-ranging issues, has a key role to play in addressing threats to peace and development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

In an address to a meeting of the group’s foreign affairs ministers in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Mr. Ban said, in an address, that the “emergence of CICA has paralleled the dynamic development of Asia.”

But he also warned in his message, delivered by Miroslav Jenca, Special Representative and head of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia, that “the promise of development and the advancement of universal human values can be undermined by war and conflict.”

The confidence-boosting strides taken and promoted by CICA can help to face such threats and serve to create an all-encompassing prevention strategy spanning the political, diplomatic, humanitarian and development realms.

The Secretary-General said that since its inaugural 2002 summit meeting, the group has made strides not only in the military-political spheres, but also in the areas of economics, environment and humanitarian assistance.

He expressed the desire of the UN, which has observer status, to boost its ties with CICA, stressing its approach to peaceful dispute settlement.

“Cooperation in this area between CICA and the United Nations, including the newly established Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, can go a long way toward finding sustainable solutions to various challenges facing the region.”

The UN Centre was set up last year to help the region’s countries respond more proactively to cross-border challenges and threats, such as terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime and environmental degradation, before they become costlier and more difficult to control.

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