SI Mediterranean Committee meeting in Toledo, Spain

9-10 May 2003

'The Mediterranean in the context of post-war Iraq' was the main theme when the members of the SI Mediterranean Committee met in Toledo on 9-10 May. Chair of the Committee, Manuel Marín, of the hosts Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, PSOE, led the proceedings. Felipe González, PSOE, former head of the Spanish Government, and Abderrahman Youssoufi, First Secretary of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces, USFP and former Prime Minister of Morocco, introduced the main theme. Vice-President of the Government of Castilla-La Mancha, José María Barreda Fontes, and SI Secretary General Luis Ayala, addressed the meeting at the opening.

Delegates examined the special position of the Mediterranean in today's international crises, as a place where many of the current challenges for the international community and social democratic movement are to be faced. Conclusions of this debate outlining the views of Committee members are summarised in the Toledo Declaration which was unanimously approved by the meeting.

The situation in Cyprus and developments in the Middle East received particular attention in the discussions on resolving conflicts in the Mediterranean and the contribution of the Socialist International. With regard to Cyprus, for the first time representatives of both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities participated, from the Movement of Social Democrats and the Republican Turkish Party, CTP, and a special resolution on Cyprus was adopted. The situation in the Middle East was introduced by Ambassador Miguel Angel Moratinos, EU Representative for the Middle East, and the Committee heard contributions from Ophir Pines, Secretary General of the Israel Labour Party, and Ilan Halevi, Fatah, the SI Palestinian member.

Other issues were also addressed including the situation in Algeria where the Committee reaffirmed its commitment to continuing to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis and issued a resolution to this end. The Committee agreed to closely follow developments there and decided on the sending of an SI mission to Algeria. The Committee also felt that positive developments in Cyprus might be encouraged by the presence of an SI mission which will be sent to support dialogue between both communities.

Reports on national situations were also received from Albania and Croatia.

The next meeting of the Committee will be held in Croatia, hosted by the Social Democratic Party, SDP, to be followed by a meeting in France, hosted by the French Socialist Party.