PAM President addresses Pan-African Parliament Session

PAM President addresses Pan-African Parliament Session
The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, H.E. Hon. Pedro Roque, addressed the opening ceremony of the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Pan-African Parliament, held on 8 May, 2017, in Midrand in South Africa.
This is the first participation by PAM to an event of the Pan-African Parliament, following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two Assemblies, at the PAM 11th Plenary Session, held in Porto, Portugal last February.  PAM also shares many members with the Pan-African Parliament, with a geopolitical area ranging from Portugal to Mauritania via Jerusalem, with both Palestine and Israel being Vice Presidents of PAM. 
President Roque said that PAM highly values the new partnership with the Pan-African Parliament, and is committed to transform it in a tangible collaboration.  All PAM members, from the North and the South, consider the African continent as a strategic area of cooperation for Mediterranean countries, given its geographic, but also cultural and economic proximity to the Mediterranean area. The two regions share common problems that, due to their inter-regional features, must be tackled at the international level. Hon. Roque referred to matters such as security, counter-terrorism, countries in transition, violent extremism, refugees, migration and climate change, and including unemployment, job creation, corruption and human rights.
“The challenges that you are facing are almost the same that we face, and these are interconnected. Therefore, our action must address in a coherent manner these problems at 360 degrees, if we really want to contribute to the stability of our regions and to the well-being of our populations”, President Roque stressed. 
The PAM President also referred to the issue of Lake Chad, which has lost 95% of its surface in thirty years. In addition, other anthropic factors are forcing people to flee that area, such as the constant violence by Boko Haram terrorists. “Both these elements represent concrete threats for the local populations, which have no choice but to migrate, mostly towards the Mediterranean, where criminal bands of human traffickers take advantage of their desperation”, he added. The exodus from the Sahel is continuous, with lasting effects on the Mediterranean countries. In other words, people migrating from the Sahel region have no hope to return to their places of origin. This is very different from what is happening, for example, with refugees coming from Syria. Syrians are escaping from a horrific war, and they will, one day, go back to their homes. In the case of the Sahel, there is no going back for the migrants. “We need to learn from you about possible solutions to assist these populations and avoid the tragedy of migration”, President Roque insisted.
Among other issues, Hon. Roque mentioned trade facilitation and investments, which will be the focus of a new PAM high-level parliamentary conference being organized together with the World Trade Organization, the EBRD and the WB. The event will be held in Casablanca, on 5-6 July.
In his final remarks, President Roque said that PAM sincerely looks forward to continuing strengthening cooperation, possibly through common initiatives on the most pressing issues, since joining forces is key to actively fight destabilization and ensure sustainable development.
During bilateral meetings with the Presidents of the Arab Parliament and the Pan African Parliament, it was agreed that, in the near future, the Assemblies will jointly organise two important events dedicated to migration and terrorism.  In the course of these consultations, the PAM President also took note of the two initiatives by the host Assembly addressed one to the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America to reverse its intention in relocating the Embassy of the United States of America from Tel Aviv to the City of Jerusalem, and the other to the Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom to desist from commemorating the Balfour Declaration.//
issued on 11.05.2017
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