Mediators from Asia’s worst conflicts to meet in Singapore

SINGAPORE, Nov 25, 2006 (AFP) – Mediators who have tried to settle Asia’s most intractable conflicts will gather in Singapore Monday for a closed-door “retreat” to discuss peacemaking, organizers said. The Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre) will co-host the three-day meeting with Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), HD Centre said in a statement.

Among those scheduled to attend are government representatives from Sri Lanka, where escalating fighting has claimed thousands of lives in the last year, frustrating peace efforts brokered by Norway.

Norway is also sending a mediator to the Singapore retreat, said Andy Andrea, HD Centre’s head of communications.

He said representatives from the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are also to attend.

The MILF has opened peace talks with Manila but they are now deadlocked. Last weekend the two sides exchanged fire on the southern island of Mindanao, breaking a three-year-old truce.

Andrea said governments from Japan, Indonesia, China and Singapore were among the others sending representatives.

Thailand is also to send delegates as deadly violence continues i