No long-term peace in Europe without an equal commitment to peace in the Mediterranean

No long-term peace in Europe without an equal commitment to peace in the Mediterranean
PAM Secretary General, Amb. Sergio Piazzi stressed the importance of the role played by the countries on the Southern shores of the Mediterranean in the general concept of Defence issues in the Euromediterranean region. 
Amb. Piazzi was addressing the European Defence Roundtable organised in Malta, on 25th April 2017, by the Munich Security Conference and the Women Political Leaders Global Forum. 
Under the patronage of the President of Malta, H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, and the Council of the European Union, the event brought together around 20 female leaders from government, national and regional parliaments, civil society and academia to debate the state and future of European Defence. The event was part of the MSC European Defence Series. In her welcoming remarks the President also argued that in order to effectively respond and guarantee peace in Europe, the Southern neighbourhood would have to be part of the strategy: "There can be no long-term peace in Europe without an equal commitment to peace in the Mediterranean,", Ms. Coleiro-Preca added.
The PAM Secretary General focused on one aspect of defence cooperation where parliamentary diplomacy can provide added value. He referred to the broader meaning of defence against a common enemy represented by ISIS and the Foreign Terrorist Fighters. Developments in the field in Iraq and Syria suggest that a large number of FTFs are already trying to flee the war zone and seek refuge either in European countries or in North Africa. While planning is in an advanced stage for what rehabilitation programs might be concerned, there is also an awareness that a number of extremists intend to continue the war from within their countries of origin. “We have to be ready to face this threat with the instruments of rule of law which also include ensuring the respect of human rights for all concerned”, PAM Secretary General said. 
PAM is fully committed to the fight against terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation. “This is a non-traditional war which however requires large resources to contain and neutralise the threat with operations in Europe and elsewhere”, Amb. Piazzi added. Indeed, dialogue and co-operation among parliamentarians, which are the very essence of parliamentary diplomacy, can contribute to this fight through the instruments at the hand of legislators, namely by adopting effective laws and monitoring their implementation.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, by adopting a unique resolution in 2009, was the first international organization to agree on a working definition of Terrorism. This decision brought PAM to work very closely with the UN Security Council and its Counter Terrorism Committee. The cooperation has since became a real partnership, and joint meetings are  regularly organised between PAM MPs and UN senior officials. This has helped to enforce the various resolutions of the UN Security Council, adopted under Chapter VII, to contrast ISIS and the FTFs: “We are at the stage of assessing how national Parliaments have adopted new legislations or amended existing laws”.  
At a recent UN/PAM meeting in Rome, hosted by the Italian Parliament and sponsored by the European Union, PAM realized that while a big effort has been done at the international and regional level, most of the legislative measures taken at the national level lack of a very precious element: inter-operability. This means that many national legislations are very weak in terms of facilitating exchange of information, or they even lack rapid mechanisms for extradition of suspect terrorists. 
Recently, the Security Council CTED has requested PAM to expand cooperation to the Central Asia republics, which PAM is doing, and the Assembly is now engaged in a close cooperation program with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This cooperation, launched only seven months ago, is progressing in an exponential manner, and plans are moving fast for the organisation of a joint conference in St. Petersburg next October to address the findings of the Rome conference.  
Amb. Piazzi in his concluding remarks also referred to the importance of NATO, adding that PAM contributes through its delegates to the NATO-PA GSM (Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group) in order to share findings, best practices and lessons learned.// 
issued on 28.04.2017
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