PAM High Level Delegation reviews Middle East situation

At the conclusion of the High Level visit to the Middle East between 9 – 14 November 2013, the PAM delegation has expressed its appreciation for the strong commitment shown by all parties in the Middle East Peace Process, which is being facilitated with unprecedented effort and dedication by the United States.

The PAM delegation, led by President H.E. Senator Francesco Amoruso, included the PAM Secretary General, Amb. Sergio Piazzi, PAM Deputy to the Secretary-General for Assembly Affairs, Mr. Mourad Youssry. Parliamentarians and PAM honorary members from Morocco, Portugal, the Principality of Monaco, Israel, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and the Palestinian National Council, participated at different stages of the mission.

“The fact that Israeli and Palestinian leaders, in spite of the undercurrents by those quarters opposing the peace process, continue to meet and negotiate on the key aspects of the issue, provide the necessary conditions for a concrete advancement towards the final settlement of the conflict, with the Israeli and Palestinian populations living side by side in peace and prosperity within the two state solution. An opportunity not to be missed in a context that will be difficult to repeat itself”, PAM President commented.
The PAM mission, which visited Amman, Ramallah and Jerusalem, held a series of high level meetings with governmental and parliamentary authorities in the three countries, where discussions dealt with the Syrian crisis, the Iranian negotiations, the Middle East Peace Process, and the ongoing developments in those countries which experienced the Arab Spring.

In Amman, meetings were held with H.E. Abdur-Ra'uf S. Rawabdeh, President of the Jordanian Senate, H.E. Atef Tarawneh, President of the Jordanian House of Representatives, H.E. Mr. Nasser Judeh, Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Amb. Joanna Wronecka, EU Ambassador to Jordan and Msgr. Mauricio Pueda Beltz, Chargé d’Affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature in Jordan. The discussions provided the opportunity to review the regional situation and the cross border impact of the Syrian conflict, including that of religious minorities, as well as PAM relations with the UfM Secretariat, co-presided by Jordan.

In Ramallah, the PAM delegation, after paying tribute to the Mausoleum in memory of the Late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, met with Senior members of the Executive Body of the Palestinian Legislative Council and with Dr Hussein Al-Araj, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Bureau of H.E. Mahmoud Abbas.
The discussion focused on the peace process with Israel and, as requested to PAM by Ambassador Robert Serry, on the security of Palestinians in Syria.

With reference to Syria and the Palestinians, it is worth noting that at the beginning of the civil strife some 600 thousand Palestinians lived there. The Palestinian authorities had always pushed for their people to keep away from the Syrian internal conflict, but nevertheless, due to the intensification of the hostilities, from one camp alone, some 200 thousand Palestinians fled to Lebanon, seeking refuge and protection. A mission by the Palestinian Authority, at the time of PAM’s visit, was in Syria to coordinate with the Syrian authorities and, at a later stage, with the Lebanese Government to ensure the best possible assistance.
The reconciliation process among the Palestinian political parties and the situation in Gaza were also at the centre of the discussions.

In Jerusalem, the PAM delegates held a series of High Level discussions with key Israeli actors taking part in the negotiations with their Palestinian counterparts. Meetings were held with H.E. Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, Speaker of the Knesset, the new Israeli delegation to PAM, headed by Hon. Dov Khenin, and senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including Ms. Aviva Raz Shechter, Deputy Director General – Middle East and Peace Process Division, and Mr. Nadar Cohen, Director of Regional Cooperation.
A special meeting took place at the Knesset with H.E. Tzipi Livni, Minister of Justice, who is responsible for the negotiations with Palestine. Hon. Livni updated the delegation on the current status of the process and the challenges ahead.
The Israeli Minister also expressed her appreciation for the role played by PAM in facilitating the process through the instrument of Parliamentary Diplomacy in the region.

A bilateral meeting with H.E. Amb. Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, with whom the long standing cooperation between PAM and the UN in the area was highlighted, concluded the visit in the region. Both sides expressed their appreciation for the commitment being dedicated and for the results obtained thanks to this effective collaboration.

Ambassador Serry also referred to his meetings with the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, in connection with the Israeli settlements. According to a statement by his Office, the UN Special Coordinator said that “he understands from his discussions with Chief negotiator Livni and other Israeli officials that yesterday’s (12.11.2013) decision to plan a large number of settlement units has been stopped”.

The visit to the Middle East will be followed up on 5 December 2013 with a visit to New York, where PAM will meet with the UN Secretary General, H.E. Ban Ki-moon, to brief him and other UN Senior Executives on the outcome of the mission and follow up action by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean.//

ISSUED ON: 18.11.2013

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