The Turkish foreign minister said on Wednesday that the term “frozen conflict” is misleading considering the recent tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

“The recent situation in and around Ukraine has shown us (that) the term frozen conflict is misleading. A conflict is a conflict. These are conflicts and solutions of which are frozen,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told the 11th Ministerial Meeting of the UN Group of Friends of Mediation.

“Without a negotiated resolution, it can get violent at any moment. We need an increased focus on mediation,” Cavusoglu underscored at the virtual meeting.

The US and its European allies have warned that Russia is setting the stage for an invasion of Ukraine by positioning over 100,000 troops on its border with the former Soviet republic, as well as significant artillery and tank deployments.

Moscow has denied the claims, saying its troops are there for regular exercises.

On mediation, Cavusoglu said the group was instrumental in developing the first comprehensive UN guidance for effective mediation in 2012. In a decade, it has grown into “a big family of 61 members,” with Malta being the most recent addition, he added.

“Our success at the UN inspired the establishment of similar groups at the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) and the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation). Turkiye co-chairs these groups as well,” he said.

Turkiye launched the Mediation for Peace initiative together with Finland at the UN in 2010 to raise awareness of the importance of mediation in terms of preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution in the international community, as well as to contribute more resources to mediation efforts.

Cavusoglu said that 2 billion people live in conflict-affected countries and that 40% of conflicts in the last 60 years have been over natural resources.

Advances in digital transformation provide opportunities for more impactful mediation, he said, adding that the UN Security Council benefit from virtual reality.

Both challenges and opportunities have changed, the Turkish foreign minister said, stressing the need for effective mediation.

“We keep highlighting the importance of inclusion of women and youth in mediation processes,” he said, adding that there will be a special section in the 8th Istanbul Mediation Conference, which will be held on March 10.

The conference, which has been organized by the Turkish Foreign Ministry since 2012, gathers politicians, diplomats, academics, experts, students, and anyone else interested in peace mediation.

The event, which hosts current discussions in the field of mediation, contributes to the field’s conceptual framework.

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