PAM’s incontrovertible role in the region’s parliamentary diplomacy

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) President, the Honourable Rudy Salles, addressed the Fez Forum entitled “The Union for the Mediterranean: achievements and future perspectives”. The conference, held from 27-29 May 2009, was organized by the Fondation Esprit de Fès, the Moroccan Center for Strategic and International Studies (CMIESI) and the City Council of Fez. Hon. Salles was accompanied by PAM Secretary General, Dr. Sergio Piazzi. The President had been invited by Professor Abdelhak Azzouzi, President of CMIESI, who in the past has actively contributed to PAM activities.
Hon. Salles highlighted the role of parliamentarians who, through their words, actions and examples can contribute to the wellbeing of the people of the Mediterranean. “Intercultural and interreligious dialogue are at the heart of PAM’s objectives. Without mutual understanding, without mutual respect, without bringing the people together, the Mediterranean could not be the haven of peace to which we all aspire,” Hon. Salles said.
The PAM President recalled the important outreach exercise of the Assembly in order to strengthen relations with other regional organizations like the United Nations, the League of Arab States, the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Arab Interparliamentary Union, the Arab Maghreb Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. He also referred to the recent visit to the Gulf States of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, where contacts were initiated with the parliaments of these countries. He continued in saying that last year, in Fez, a cultural program had been launched by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, including the Mediterranean Day, which was celebrated for the first time on 21 March this year.
President Salles also stressed the unique role of parliamentary diplomacy in complimenting traditional diplomatic efforts and provided, as an example, the recent fact-finding mission by PAM’s Bureau to the Middle East, including Cairo, the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Gaza and Ramallah), Israel and Amman.
With reference to the Union for the Mediterranean, Hon. Salles said that PAM shared the philosophy and the objectives of the project. “Parliaments and governments have a distinct role to play in the area, in partnership for the benefit of the citizens,” Hon. Salles said.
Finally, the PAM President reminded that parliamentary diplomacy is an effective tool that should not be neglected.

ISSUED ON: 10.06.2009

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