The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean strengthens outreach

Earlier this month, the Honourable Rudy Salles of France, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) and Vice President of the French National Assembly, along with Dr. Sergio Piazzi, PAM’s Secretary General, went on a mission in the Gulf as part of PAM’s program to further strengthen its ties between countries and organizations at both the regional and international level.
In Qatar, Hon. Salles made a courtesy visit to H.E. Mohamed Bin Mubarak Al-Khulaifi, President of the Advisory Council. Hon. Salles presented to His Excellency PAM’s history and evolution, and illustrated other steps it has taken in involving countries and organizations which are not directly located within the Mediterranean, such as the United States, Russia, the Vatican, the UN, the League of Arab States and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. During the meeting, President Bin Mubarak Al-Khulaifi highlighted the fact that PAM had gained great prominence in the region in such a short time. He expressed his appreciation for PAM’s actions vis-à-vis the peace process in the Middle East. Hon. Salles said PAM supports Qatar’s foreign policy in the Mediterranean under the current Emir’s reign.
He also invited President Bin Mubarak Al-Khulaifi to the forthcoming Plenary Session of the Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey, in October, as well as to the scheduled meeting of the Presidents of the Parliaments of the PAM Members States in 2010. Finally, Hon. Salles and President Bin Mubarak Al-Khulaifi discussed the granting of “Associate Member” status with PAM to the Qatari Parliament, whereupon His Excellency mentioned that he would take all the measures necessary in order to begin proceedings for the Advisory Council to obtain this status. Additional visits are also being planned for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Hon. Salles spoke on behalf of PAM at the opening ceremony of the 6th Annual Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference (DIHAD) on the organization’s role in the Mediterranean region as regards disaster management. He highlighted the fact that PAM itself has established a Special Task Force on Disaster Management, which held its first meeting in February in
Limassol, Cyprus. He stated that “PAM is trying to serve as catalyst for new approaches, and hopefully to generate solutions, including on soft issues such as socio-economics and the environment,” as “PAM’s vocation as a platform for equal dialogue is very well placed to promote better understanding and cooperation on the challenging and complex problems of the Mediterranean region.” He also emphasised that “Parliamentarians can facilitate the establishment of bilateral/multilateral agreements among our Member States in order to create additional capacities to respond to disasters.”
In concluding this series of meetings, Dr. Piazzi was in New York, where he met with United Nations officials from the Department of Political Affairs, the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, the Office of Legal Affairs, and with the Executive Secretary of the International Civil Service Commission. Issues discussed ranged from cooperation between PAM and the UN system on issues of common interest such as terrorism, climate change and migration, as well as PAM’s support of peace and security in the Middle East. The Secretary General also launched the procedure for PAM to gain Observer Status at the UN General Assembly.

ISSUED ON: 24.04.2009

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