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Posted On: 9 June 2009 11:40 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Arab-Israeli conflict ‘holds key to peace’

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The Israel-Palestine conflict is the most important issue concerning the international community, according to leading expert on peacemaking and Nobel Laureate, Martti Ahtisaari. In an interview to Gulf Times, the former president of Finland said that if the major conflict in the Middle East can somehow be resolved, then both the Western and Arab worlds will be able to develop relations and concentrate on other issues. Ahtisaari expressed his hope that with the election of Barack Obama and his new administration, the world may see a solution sooner rather than later – perhaps even before the end of the newly elected president’s first term in office. Ahtisaari argued that “everyone now knows what the broad ideas are and there has to be a two-state solution.” “This is the first time we see signs of hope with the new Obama administration, but we need everybody to support peace talks and then under his leadership we may be able to move forwards,” he claimed. He also spoke about the situation in Darfur, and said he was pleased about Qatar’s efforts to facilitate peace talks, expressing his hope that the efforts are “well co-ordinated, and also receive the support from all the parties involved.” The self-proclaimed optimist argued that the one positive thing to emerge out of the current global financial crisis is the recognition that countries and governments must communicate and collaborate to solve the serious international issues they face – something that may bode well for crises such as Darfur. “We need to avoid the humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur,” he stated, claiming support from China would be a vital aspect of any peace process there. Speaking about his involvement in the Silatech summit, Ahtisaari said that he when he was asked to be a member of the initiative’s board, he was more than happy to join as he recognises the challenge posed by employing the population of youth in the Arab world as an extremely serious one. “We need to train people for specific jobs and to do this, we need to analyse each country to discover exactly what is needed,” he claimed.