News story | Date: 04/12/2023 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
‘Last week’s mediation retreat in Muscat, the capital of Oman, gathered participants with important insights on conflict situations and peace in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This is the first time a retreat in the Oslo Forum-series is organized in the MENA region’, said State Secretary Andreas M. Kravik.
Last week, the government of Norway organised a retreat on peace mediation in Muscat (“Muscat Mediation Retreat”), together with the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Hosted by the Sultanate of Oman, more than 40 participants from 26 countries shared their experience and perspectives on conflict, diplomacy and peace in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
‘As conflict and tensions rise around the world, the need for diplomacy and dialogue is greater than ever. With the wars in Gaza and Ukraine unfolding, as well as the unresolved conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Sudan and other places, the timing of the retreat was optimal and provided ample opportunities to discuss pertinent issues related to effective peace mediation’, said Kravik, who participated at the retreat.
The retreat in Oman is a regional offspring of the annual mediation retreat Oslo Forum, the world’s leading retreat for international mediators and peacemakers, organised annually by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.
‘Norway has a long tradition of supporting peace and reconciliation efforts at the request of conflict parties, from the Oslo Accords in the Middle East to facilitation roles in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere today’, said Kravik.
The representatives of governments, regional organisations and the United Nations reflected on the challenges and opportunities of mediating peaceful resolutions to conflicts in the region, including Yemen, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and the ongoing crisis in Gaza. The discussions also covered ways to transition from ceasefires to inclusive political processes, the digital aspects of conflict and emerging threats from climate change and environmental degradation.
‘The cooperation with Oman on peace and reconciliation is important for us. Oman has been a discreet and impartial facilitator in the Middle East for many years, including its central role in supporting dialogue between the conflict parties in Yemen and in the process that led to the restoration of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia’, said Kravik.
From modest beginnings in 2003, the Oslo Forum has expanded and evolved over 20 years into the premier venue for global leaders, mediators, conflict parties and experts to assess crises, support dialogue and create pathways to peace.
In a volatile world, the annual retreat in Norway in June and various regional events over the years – including the Muscat Mediation Retreat – remain safe, discreet spaces for diverse actors to share knowledge, discuss issues and work on practical ways to address conflicts and geopolitical tensions.
The Oslo Forum’s closed-door discussions, held under the Chatham House Rule of non-attribution, allow participants to speak openly and contribute ideas for sustainable solutions to conflicts.
Attendance is by invitation only.