South African Conflict Resolution Conference
Three senior members of Sinn Féin are in Cape Town South Africa at a conflict resolution conference; Bairbre de Brún MEP, Raymond Mc Cartney MLA and former political prisoner Seanna Walsh are attending a conference organised by the Berghof Research Centre for Constructive Conflict Management based in Berlin.
The Sinn Féin representatives will present an overview to the conference drawing on their experience of the Irish peace process. The conference will also hear a similar experience presented by senior figures from the ANC.
The organisers of the conference were keen to involve Sinn Féin and the ANC because of the success of the peace processes in Ireland and South Africa. The conference will be also attended by representatives from several countries which are experiencing conflict.
Speaking from Cape Town Bairbre de Brún said:
"The message that Sinn Féin brought to this conference is that conflict can be ended provided those involved in it on all sides are prepared to play their part in helping to end it. This can best be done if the peace process is inclusive from the outset and all the issues at the heart of the conflict are on the table for negotiation.
"It is also important that all organisations open their minds to taking risks to build confidence in their opponents and to inject momentum into the process of change.
"The Irish peace process was greatly advanced by the many initiatives the IRA and Sinn Féin took over a long period of time.
"The response from the Irish and British governments, the unionists and loyalists was also essential in creating the conditions for the new power sharing institutions which are now functioning.
"The Irish and South African peace processes are international beacons of hope for people in different parts of the world who are locked into conflict situations. That is why Sinn Féin is keen to spread the message of hope and opportunity which the Irish peace process generates." ENDS