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Press Release - High Level Seminar on Middle East and Security: EU efforts towards a comprehensive policy
03.07.2012, 16:42 (CET)
The necessity for opening new paths of communication, understanding and cooperation with the people of the Middle East, aiming at peace, security, stability and growth in the region was discussed in the high level seminar organized by the Cyprus EU Presidency. The seminar took place at the Filoxenia Conference Centre in Nicosia between July 2 and 3 and was hosted by the Cyprus Minister of Defence, Mr. Demetris Eliades.

At his opening speech, the Cyprus Defence Minister, Mr. Eliades, stressed the need of EU to define a strategy and formulate a comprehensive policy concerning the developments, a policy that is absent at this stage. “We should be in a position to develop multidimensional relations with the peoples of the region, relations of cooperation in politics, economy, energy, growth, security, culture and environment. Dialogue, mutual respect and understanding are useful tools in this effort”, Mr. Eliades said.

The main focus of this high-level seminar was the developments in the Middle East and how Europe will contribute for a more positive perspective in the region. The guest speakers offered an in-depth analysis of individual initiatives taken by some European states in conjunction with work undertaken by several institutes and advocated the active promotion of Track-Two diplomacy in the Middle East.

Track-Two diplomacy is the unofficial, informal interaction among members of adversarial groups or nations with the goals of developing strategies, influencing public opinion, and organizing human and material resources in ways that might help resolve the conflict.

The seminar brought together eminent personalities from European and Middle Eastern states. Among the speakers were officials from the European Union, EU Member States, the United Nations and academics; as well as other distinguished individuals such as H.E. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Former EU Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process and Former Foreign Minister of Spain, H. E. Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, Former OSCE Secretary General, Major General Paolo Serra, Force Commander and Head of Mission of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Mr Andreas Reinicke, EU Special Representative for the Middle East peace process, and Mr Bernardino León, EU Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean Region.

The officials’ analysis and the speakers’ contribution in the seminar provided a representative outline of the matter as well as useful suggestions and best practices. The participants had the opportunity to obtain a better knowledge as far as the developments in the Middle East are concerned and gain a deeper insight into the political reforms and regional balances.

Around 100 participants attended the event, including representatives from the European Union, EU member states and acceding countries, United Nations, Europe, Asia, North and South America.

Authoritarian regimes are being overthrown and new forces are emerging at the forefront of internal developments, political reforms and regional balances. The big question is what will follow the turbulence and the changes that are underway. Because if the overthrow of authoritarian regimes is followed by the emergence of other authoritarian regimes, then what Arab Spring are we discussing? We will be led from one Arab Winter to the next”, said the Cyprus Defence Minister.

Mr. Eliades noted that “The EU can and should substantially and creatively support the people of the region in their effort to establish democratic institutions, democratic societies, and democratic states, in the framework of respecting human and political rights, with viable economic prospects. This is the most concrete basis for peace, security and stability in the region.”

The Defence Minister concluded by stressing that “the EU possesses the forces, the ethical culture and political prestige to become a protagonist in the developments for a more promising future in the Middle East.”

The Middle East developments and security will be part of the agenda of the Informal Meeting of Defence Policy Directors that will take place on July 4-5, in Nicosia.

Communications Officer
Elena Fysentzou

Ministry of Defence

Email: efysentzou@pio.moi.gov.cy
Telephone: +357 22807592

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02.07.2012 - 03.07.2012