Med Dialogues, challenges and chances in Mediterranean

Political leaders, entrepreneurs and analysts at Rome forum

30 November, 12:27

    (by Patrizio Nissirio) ROME - The Mediterranean is a region that is ever more fragmented and ever more interconnected, wedged between a lasting crisis and significant opportunities for development and dialogue. In order to foster dialogue - including between those who normally do not even speak to each other - Rome will from Thursday until Saturday host the third edition of Mediterranean Dialogues, an international forum bringing together political leaders, entrepreneurs and analysts from the Euro-Mediterranean region and further afield.

    ''Italy,'' underscored Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano in introducing the report drawn up by the ministry for the 2017 edition, which notes Italy's 'integrated' approach to the region, ''knows better than anyone the language of the Mediterranean and proposes a 'dictionary' to decipher the possibilities and the challenges.'' ''Med Dialogues,'' the minister continued, ''are an important meeting point to come up with ideas and plan together for - with all Mediterranean countries and our most important world partners - the bridge that must bring us together and teach how to better speak the 'language' of the Mediterranean with a shared and inclusive approach.''

    The international conference, organized by the Italian foreign ministry and the Istituto per gli Studi Politici Internazionali (ISPI), thus has an important aim: to make sure that the exchange of ideas provides solutions to the many tensions crossing the region. However, 'Beyond the Turmoil, A Positive Agenda' is the sub-theme for this year's edition for a reason, since there are many opportunities to be taken advantage of. ANSAmed, the newspaper La Stampa and state radio and television broadcaster RAI are once again this year's media partners for the event. High-profile political leaders to attend include: 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 in presenting the initiative. ''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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