Meeting of the SI Mediterranean Committee, Valencia, Spain
On 13-14 February the SI Mediterranean Committee convened in Valencia, Spain, hosted by the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, PSOE. The discussions focused on two main themes: “The essential new impetus for peace and security in the Mediterranean” and “Making cooperation a policy of cohesion for the Mediterranean”. The meeting was opened with speeches by Ximo Puig, Secretary General of the Socialist Party in Valencia, the PSPV, by Luis Ayala, Secretary General of the SI, and Carme Chacón, Chair of the Committee and Secretary for International Relations of the PSOE.
Miguel Ángel Moratinos, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain introduced the first main theme and Mustapha Ben Jaafar, Secretary General of Ettakatol, Tunisia, and an Honorary President of the SI, was the introductory speaker of the second theme. The meeting also heard reports from participants on the national situation in the countries of the region.
Following substantive debates, the committee members adopted a Declaration titled ‘A new agenda for the Mediterranean’ reflecting the subjects discussed and agreements reached. The document highlights, in the first place, the need to put into practice a shared vision and a common framework for establishing priorities and cooperation. It also underlines the need to set in motion a common policy on migration based on the principle of solidarity and humanitarian concerns; the need for a real political strategy to confront terrorism on both shores of the Mediterranean including the promotion and defence of rights, freedoms and tolerance; to advance in the consolidation of democracy; to promote a massive new investment plan for the Mediterranean to tackle youth unemployment and to present an alternative to migration and radicalisation; to create the conditions to facilitate a just political solution to the division of the island of Cyprus; to promote a just and negotiated solution to the conflict in the Western Sahara, and to encourage recognition of the State of Palestine as a contribution to the peace process in the Middle East, leading to the coexistence of two States, Israel and Palestine.
On the occasion of this meeting in Valencia, the Contact Group on Western Sahara previously established by the SI gathered and agreed on the terms of the fact-finding mission to visit the region in early May, headed by Juan Antonio Yáñez of the PSOE, former Secretary of State for Foreign and Ibero-American Affairs, and a former ambassador of Spain to the United Nations. A report on the mission’s findings will be presented in the first instance to the Mediterranean Committee and subsequently to the SI Council at its next meeting.
In a closing session in the presence of the media, the Committee was addressed by Joan Calabuig, candidate of the PSPV to Mayor of Valencia; Jaume Collboni, candidate of the PSC to Mayor of Barcelona; Luis Ayala, Secretary General of the SI, and Carme Chacón, Chair of the SI Mediterranean Committee.