Declaration of Beirut

SI Mediterranean Committee meeting in Lebanon, 25-26 April 2008

Holding the Socialist International Mediterranean Committee in Beirut reflects our interest in the stability of not only the Mediterranean Basin, but of the Middle East as a whole, for which the resolution of the existing conflicts in the region is essential.

As we celebrate the third anniversary of the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, we express our deep concern about the current institutional crisis in Lebanon and call for the prompt election of a new President and for the restoration of the functions of the national Parliament. This can only be achieved through the full respect of the constitutional process and the democratic rules. Dialogue should also reflect genuine political will by all parties concerned, with the implementation of the unanimously adopted national dialogue resolutions, especially those concerning Lebanese-Syrian relations. We need a stable, united, sovereign and independent Lebanon, and its stability cannot be built on violence or on external influence, intimidation or destabilisation. We consider furthermore that a policy of non-alignment can protect Lebanon from being torn apart by regional and international conflicts.

We ask for the prompt implementation of the recommendations of the Arab League and for the respect of the Taef agreements and of all the relevant resolutions of the UN as well as the rapid creation by the UN of the international tribunal for Lebanon to finally solve the outstanding cases of political assassinations in the country.

We renew our support to the crucial efforts undertaken by the countries contributing to UNIFIL.

The resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is crucial to securing peace and stability in the whole region. The Annapolis agreements must be respected and implemented without delay. Negotiations should lead to lasting peace based on a two-state solution. The critical humanitarian situation of Gaza must be addressed with urgency; the legitimate political institutions of the Palestinian Authority there should be restored; the Israeli attacks and bombings in Gaza, which have resulted in hundreds of deaths, should end immediately and the rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel should stop.

The UN Alliance of Civilisations is a useful initiative and a way to address relations between our societies, especially in the Mediterranean context.

We reiterate our firm condemnation of terrorism and recall that the fight against it must be based on the strict respect for human rights and the rule of law.

We express our willingness to contribute to improving security by promoting and increasing judicial and police cooperation between nations, as well as by encouraging civil society exchanges and creating a shared space of education, research and innovation.

The cooperation between North and South of the Mediterranean Sea must be pursued to reinforce the economic development of the region, which will contribute to the reduction of poverty and unemployment, providing young people with opportunities for a better future in their countries. The current global food crisis must be tackled as one of the main areas of concern for the socialist family all over the world.

Equally, the rights of political refugees and displaced people must be fully respected and greater efforts must be made to solve the precarious situation they find themselves in.

We hope the Union for the Mediterranean will be a reinforcement of the Barcelona Process, with the participation of all the EU member states and the non-EU Mediterranean coastal states. The new European Neighbourhood Policy should not forget the importance of a multilateral approach for the relationship between the Northern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Democracy and peace should be at the center of this process.

The Mediterranean region is particularly vulnerable to climate change. This global phenomenon calls for global strategies. We welcome initiatives such as the Mediterranean Hot Spot Investment Programme and the Horizon 2020 initiative, both part of the cooperation between the EU and Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries, and we ask for an increase in these kinds of collaboration programmes.

We call on our sister parties and the governments of the Mediterranean countries to promote the necessary instruments to fight against illegal immigration and the related mafias, and to implement social integration policies for the immigrant population as the real agents of dialogue and mutual knowledge. Immigration flows should be related to the reality of labour markets, with agreements between origin and destination countries as a key tool for this purpose.

We welcome the renewed talks in Cyprus between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders in the framework of the UN and its decisions, to prepare the future negotiations for a reunified island and we commit ourselves to contribute to that process.

The Socialist International Mediterranean Committee renews its call for stability, peace and democracy in Lebanon and in the whole region. It is only through political cooperation and dialogue that solutions can be reached to address the real needs of the citizens.