Meeting of the Socialist International Mediterranean Committee, Seville, 29-30 October 2001
The Socialist International Mediterranean Committee met on 29-30 October 2001 in a city, Seville, and a region, the Mediterranean, distinguished down the ages as a meeting place, as a focus of dialogue and coexistence. The main business of the meeting was to analyse the current international and regional situation, especially in the light of the terrorist attacks of 11 September, as well as to exchange views on the consequences and priorities for the Mediterranean region in terms of our responsibilities as socialists. The structures upon which international society has been based since 1945, and particularly during the last decade, have been tottering since 11 September. This blind and indiscriminate violence, this terror which would have us believe that nobody is safe from its threats, demands from the members of this Committee the strongest condemnation and a reiteration of solidarity with the victims.
When the model of coexistence and society based on principles of freedom and security in which we firmly believe is attacked, whatever the place or the circumstance, the international community must react with solidarity and resolution. Our countries and governments must be equally united in order to convey the most decisive stand in the struggle against terrorism. We firmly believe that this challenge can be confronted in such a way as to reinforce democracy and both strengthen our own societies and sustain the construction of a more just and balanced international society. We live in an interdependent world which demands that we act together; as long as the threats we face are global, our response must also be global, all-embracing, resolute and solidly based on the basic principles of the rule of law.
These events mark a new reality in international relations, not completely changing the scenario of the last decades, but qualifying it and rendering it more complex. We socialists have repeatedly drawn attention to the serious problems and enduring conflicts afflicting humankind during this period of history, and we believe that most of these problems and conflicts can only become even more complex if their underlying causes, which breed despair and violence, are not tackled.
Problems such as inequality and poverty; social exclusion, racism and serious attacks on immigrants in Western countries; the absence of development and double standards in international relations; lack of solidarity and understanding when faced with the phenomenon of immigration; the inadequate promotion of human rights and democracy under dictatorial regimes; underdevelopment and inhumane forms of globalisation; foreign debt, ineffective development aid, limited direct investment in poorer countries and difficulty of access to international markets; the increasing prevalence of exclusive forms of nationalism and lack of respect for minorities — today all of these require us to unite, as socialist parties, not only to reiterate our common concern, but also to mobilise and issue a renewed call within our societies for an unprecedented effort to overcome these problems.
During these few days, we socialists meeting together here have analysed the problems of our region, which are aggravated in some cases by conflict situations. In Algeria, we see a deterioration in the internal situation, contempt for democratic freedoms and the urgent need to launch a peace and democratisation process. The Cyprus conflict remains unsolved, whilst human rights are still too low a priority in many countries of the Mediterranean region.
In the Middle East, recent events have made the possibility of reaching a just and lasting peace based on United Nations Resolutions 242 and 338 and leading to a viable and democratic Palestinian state more remote. The Israeli government is maintaining an obstructive stance which needs to change immediately. A strong Palestinian Authority is the key condition for the overall reduction of violence in the area. The Palestinian National Authority needs the support of all our countries. They, in turn, must show themselves more committed to peace as far as the struggle against terrorism is concerned.
Some countries, for example Morocco, are making remarkable efforts to carry forward their political transitions to democracy. This development represents a positive step in the consolidation of the Euro-Mediterranean area as an arena for dialogue, exchange and cooperation; alongside these we also need to see greater popular participation in civil society and social structures, widespread education in the values of tolerance and equality, cooperation on migration issues and the fostering of culture as a means for mutual exchange and enrichment. This will be the best possible basis for truly democratic societies, where basic human and social rights, the rule of law and good governance can be fully implemented in this geographical and political region, as well as internationally.
It was stressed at our meeting that only through dialogue between different cultures, guided by a willingness to understand each other’s different sensitivities, and through a firm commitment to democratic principles and sustainable and balanced economic and social development, as well as greater integration within countries and regions, will we be able to successfully overcome the fears and wounds which characterise the current international crisis.
We call on the European Union to play the role it should in the face of such a major crisis. The EU together with the Mediterranean countries, must assume a special leadership role, so that the principles expressed in the Declaration of Barcelona, principles that we all endorse - the proposals in the spheres of politics, security, economics and finance, as well as on social, cultural and human questions - assume the form of a broad political pact, supported by the whole of the international community. This is the commitment we take on before our governments and organisations. Only through the globalisation of humanism, solidarity and culture will we be able to respond to the great challenges posed by the new international scenario. The Mediterranean has been known as an arena for meeting and dialogue, as well as a source of inspiration for ideas of international order. Faced with an international crisis of such magnitude, it is our duty and responsibility to ensure that it continues to fulfil that function.