5 July 2011 - MEDITERRANEAN SECURITY CONTINUES TO EVOLVE, NATO ASSEMBLY MEMBERS HEAR
The situation in the Middle East and North Africa is extraordinarily fluid, but widespread assertion of civil society’s right to freedom and dignity throughout the region should be cause for cautious optimism. This was the central message emerging from deliberations at a seminar engaging parliamentarians, political leaders and experts from NATO Member, Associate and Mediterranean Associate countries who gathered in La Maddalena, Italy on 4-5 July 2011.
The Italian Parliament’s delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, headed by Senator Sergio de Gregorio, hosted and organised the seminar for the Assembly’s Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group (GSM), chaired by Vahit Erdem from
Participants to the seminar reviewed events on both a national and regional basis. Among those addressing the more than 50 members of parliament attending the event were senior leaders from
Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mohammed Moustafa Kamal outlined his country’s continued progress towards a more open and democratic system. Told that a new constitution would likely be rooted in democratic values and Sharia law, some seminar participants suggested that these may not be complementary constitutional principles. Kamal stressed that
Ali Ahani, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, outlined his country’s views on recent developments in the region, stating that “actors from outside the region” had supported immoral regimes and that such pressure was now causing unrest elsewhere.
The unprecedented Iranian presentation was strongly challenged by members of the Assembly, who raised a number of concerns about Iranian behaviour and rhetoric, including threats to the security of
While recalling the tragedies that have afflicted
On the second day of the Seminar, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, Commander, Allied Joint Force Command, Naples; Commander, US Naval Forces Europe and Commander US Naval Forces, Africa provided a tour d’horizon of his wide ranging responsibilities, including Operation Unified Protector in Libya. Admiral Locklear denied that NATO forces were targeting individuals and stressed that the degradation of the Libyan government’s capacity to threaten its people would help create the conditions for a settlement. He stressed the importance of continued support from NATO governments to the campaign.
Parliamentarians also discussed the social, economic, political and demographic origins of the crisis with Dr Tarik Yousef from the
A detailed Seminar report will be available shortly.