Med Dialogues to bring regional spotlight back to Rome

Dialogue should be the focus at a tumultuous time , says Alfano

23 November, 11:47

    ISPI Director, Paolo Magri (L) and Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Angelino Alfano ISPI Director, Paolo Magri (L) and Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Angelino Alfano

    (by Patrizio Nissirio)

    ROME - The international Med Dialogues conference will reposition Rome as the 'capital of the Mediterranean', a place for dialogue among those who normally find it difficult to talk. The conference is being held by the Italian foreign ministry and the Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) between November 30 and December 2.

    It will be the third time that Mediterranean and world leaders, the heads of international organizations, dozens of representatives from the economic and financial sector, experts and analysts will gather in the Italian capital. The resulting exchange of ideas is meant to provide solutions to the many tensions in the region and to remember that there is 'Beyond Turmoil, a Positive Agenda'. ANSAmed, the newspaper La Stampa and state broadcaster RAI are once again the media partners of the event.

    ''At a particularly tumultuous time for the Mediterranean, dialogue is the best word'' to focus on, Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said in presenting the conference. Alfano noted that the Med Dialogues are ''tangible proof of Italy's integrated approach to the region. We inter-connect the various issues that, taken piecemeal, would not show the complexity of the Mediterranean today.'' ''Over the next few days, Rome will return to being the capital of the Mediterranean,'' he underscored, noting that ''the quality of our work is shown by the fact that people who find it difficult to engage in dialogue within the regional context come here to virtually sit down around the same table''.

    The concept of inter-connectedness between issues is the strength of this conference, ISPI director Paolo Magri said.

    He noted some of the major political leaders that will be taking part: Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim Al-Jafaari, his Egyptian one Sameh Hassan Shoukry and Saudi Arabia's Adel Al-Jubeir, as well as the Lebanese president Michel Aoun (who will be making the opening remarks at the conference alongside Alfano, with Italian president Sergio Mattarella present) and Libyan vice president Ahmed Maitig.

    There will also be Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Shannon.

    High-level speeches will be made by representatives of China, India and international organizations like the UN and the EU. A strong presence will also be seen of representatives of the economics and civil society sectors, with 800 people from 56 countries expected to attend. There will be 25 sessions centering on four pillars: Shared Prosperity, Shared Security, Migration, and Culture and Society.

    Participants will have the possibility to read two reports: one coordinated by ISPI with the collaboration of many international research centers entitled 'Looking Ahead' (on possible ways to foster positive development of the region) and one by the Italian foreign ministry explaining Italy's complex and detailed strategy for the Mediterranean.

    One of the issues that will be focused on is the migration crisis and that of the protection of migrant rights, especially after the latest news of serious human rights abuses in Libya. ''Italy, world champion of human rights, has saved half a million human lives in the sea. It will not turn aside when faced with violations,'' Alfano said. ''We will speak about rights in Rome with all those involved, transit nations and international agencies in order to highlight the issue, which Italy has always been and will always be on the front line for.'' 

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