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The IPI Mena advisory council at the meeting yesterday

Bahrain diplomats to advise international think tank

MANAMA, April 3, 2015

Bahrain-based diplomats and religious leaders will advise an international think tank in countering regional conflicts.

The 16-member International Peace Institute Middle East and North Africa (IPI Mena) advisory council held its first meeting yesterday at its headquarters in the Bahrain Financial Harbour, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

"The team will provide the IPI office in Manama and the IPI at large with the advice and expertise services on how to tackle zones or points of tensions that might turn into conflict," IPI Mena director Nejib Friji told the GDN.

"We will exercise preventive diplomacy, which will help those who are in charge with public and official opinion on where the zones of tensions are.

"Thus we shall help in enabling the actors to work and act swiftly and promptly in order to stop zones emerging into conflict areas."

The council comprises envoys of the UK, US, Russia, France, Italy, India, Indonesia, Egypt and Jordan along with leaders from the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities.

They will also play a key role in supporting the Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM) in preparing its final report scheduled for June next year.

ICM is part of New York-based IPI and aims to identify threats and challenges to international peace and security as well as assess the effectiveness of existing multilateral institutions.

It is chaired by former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and co-chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister B¿rge Brende and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.

"During its two-year course, the ICM will analyse the multilateral system through the lens of 15 issue areas including new threats, challenges, weapons of mass destruction, non-proliferation, and disarmament, armed conflict within and between states, terrorism, women, peace and security," said IPI president Terje Rod Larsen.

"Each of these will be the focus of expert-level discussions and the resulting issues will be culminated into a final report.

"The final report will be subjected to review by the three-tier membership of the commission and the first of its kind is scheduled for June 2016."

Meanwhile, Larsen said extremists in Yemen and across the region were misusing religion for their own agenda.

"It is all about political extremism, ideologies and political parties, which are on the rise globally," he told the GDN.

"This represents a new totalitarianism which believes in eradicating the existing order, literally, and in establishing a new order.

"It is similar to the (Islamic State) promoting the caliphate and they are of the belief that terrorist acts are legitimate in order to reach that goal if necessary.

"This totalitarianism is similar to that happened in Europe in the past, where Christianity was involved, which again shows that what is happening is not unique to Islam.

"Instead, they are evil political movements misusing religion for their own purposes.

"Hence this is nothing specific to the region, nor does it have to do anything with Islam." - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | Diplomat | advise | Tank | Think |

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