Istanbul, Sep 18 (IANS) Turkey's Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal urged the world to exert more efforts to carry out effective mediation for the peaceful resolutions of conflicts across the globe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Today, the need for effective mediation is even greater. The pandemic has further complicated some conflict dynamics," Onal said, addressing the 7th Istanbul Mediation Conference on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.
The conference was held online due to the pandemic under the theme of "Peace Mediation in the New Normal."
During his speech, Onal noted that unique challenges have occurred, especially in the conflict regions and fragile states, as a result of the severe conditions of the coronavirus.
In his view, COVID-19 aggravated the humanitarian situation in such landscapes where people have been struggling against the conflict.
"As we try to flatten the curve of the disease, conflicts continue to take their toll on innocent people," he said, noting that around two billion people already live in countries affected by the conflicts.
He said due to the pandemic, 200 million people are to be affected by a severe decline in employment, and an additional of 130 million people could be pushed to the edge of starvation by the end of 2020.
"That is why the need for preventive diplomacy and effective mediation is greater," he said.
Prominent mediators, high-level officials from several international organisations, and some renowned experts on a digital platform attended the conference, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said at a press release.
Turkey has been organising the Istanbul Mediation Conferences in a bid to raise awareness and build capacity in support of mediation within the framework of the Mediation for Peace initiative, which was launched in 2010 by Turkey and Finland at the United Nations.