12-05-2009

PAM at UN Middle East Peace Meeting

Hon. George Vella, Maltese MP and Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean’s (PAM) Ad Hoc Committee on the Middle East, represented the organization last week in Cyprus at the UN International Meeting in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, the theme of which was “Action by European, Arab and other parliamentarians and their umbrella organizations for Israeli-Palestinian peace”.
The meeting’s objective was to emphasize the important role played by national parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations in shaping public opinion, formulating policy guidelines and upholding international legitimacy in support of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine.
Dr. Vella spoke of the unique role that PAM continues to play in the Mediterranean, especially as regards the Middle East, as well as highlighted the comparative advantages parliamentarians have vis-à-vis national governments and how they can translate this into providing support for initiatives aimed at advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
“Through their legislative power, MPs can “give domestic meaning to international standards and agreements. Through their deliberations, MPs can set an example of dialogue and the peaceful resolution of differences of opinion. Their influence on and direct link to their constituents can make an enormous difference in shaping public opinion,” Dr. Vella added.
Drawing upon his experience with the Middle East issue, Dr. Vella stressed the importance of “dialogue, regular contact, open debate, the airing of grievances, and the search for innovative solutions” in achieving trust and reciprocal respect. “It is through these processes that peace can become a reality,” he concluded.
The role of PAM was also highlighted by the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malta, Hon. Louis Galea, who, addressing the same meeting, said that a stronger use ought to be made of the organization given its nature as a forum for dialogue representing parliamentarians from all the countries of the Mediterranean. “I strongly believe that we need to reinforce PAM’s personality to empower it to contribute constructively at the strategic level to the Israeli-Palestinian question,” Dr. Galea added.
Hon. Vella will be joining a high-level PAM delegation traveling on a mission to the region next week, which falls within the framework of PAM’s 1st Standing Committee on Political and Security-related Cooperation.

MEDIA INFORMATION: No. 14/2009
ISSUED ON: 13.05.2009

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