De Venecia leads new group for Asia peace
DILI, Timor Leste—Former Speaker Jose de Venecia of the Philippines led the launch here over the weekend of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC) whose aim is to assist peace mediation efforts in Asia.
At the same time, De Venecia urged Philippine and Chinese ships at the disputed Scarborough Shoal “to pull out simultaneously so nobody loses face.”
“It is perhaps the most practical temporary solution to end the tension and resolve the Philippines-China standoff,” he said, as both countries continued to square off in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
De Venecia is, respectively, founding chairman and founding president of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (Icapp) and the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (Capdi) that met in Dili on April 25-26 under the aegis of the government of Timor Leste led by outgoing President Jose Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
Icapp is composed of more than 300 ruling and opposition political parties in 52 Asian countries, while Capdi is a joint political-civil society organization in the Asia Pacific.
The two-day conference also endorsed President Benigno Aquino III’s advancing the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the revival of the peace talks with the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
The APRC, consisting of Icapp and Capdi under De Venecia and of Thailand’s Saranrom Institute of Foreign Affairs Foundation (Sifaf) under former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, would advise Asian governments and parties in conflict and help them transition to democracy and popular governance.
Leaders of political parties and civil society groups from the Philippines, Japan, China, India, South Korea, Vietnam, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and Azerbaijan hailed the “extraordinary examples of peace and reconciliation” in Cambodia and Timor Leste, “which are now models for the world.”