PAM Member Parliaments to provide additional impetus to the Middle East peace process following Malta Meeting on Israeli-Palestinian peace
The contributions delivered by the expert speakers and the interventions by the participants focused on the permanent status issues, namely the borders, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees and water. Many speakers highlighted the importance of security for both Israelis and Palestinians, as an additional permanent status issue to be addressed. Throughout the two day debate the role of parliaments and inter-parliamentary organisations in supporting and advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace and stability in the region were widely put into focus. It was also recommended to strengthen parliamentarians‟ role in contributing towards a solution to the question of Palestine. There exists a high level of good will, particularly among members of Parliament, who will continue to work until a just and equitable solution is reached. The stability of the area affects the whole of the Mediterranean region and the repercussions of the current status quo are felt throughout the world. The Ambassador from the United States of America in Malta has, himself, underpinned this subject during the interventions by the representatives of the Quartet Member States. The Chairman of the PAM Ad hoc Committee on the Middle East, Hon. George Vella (Malta) referred to the initiatives undertaken by various international parliamentary fora, including PAM. He said these institutions have provided ample opportunities for both sides to engage in a fruitful dialogue. All have visited the region in the hope to better understand the situation on the ground and engaged in dialogue with the concerned parties. The overall atmosphere during the meeting was considered by the participants as a determined, yet fair and balanced approach, to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, where every aspect was framed within a consensual call for bridge building between all the stakeholders and for the negotiations to re-start in earnest without further delay. Referring to the specific topic of the meeting, PAM President Hon. Salles, said in his welcome speech: “My message to the Israeli and Palestinian leaders is that peace is not an option, but a must”. He added that Parliamentary Diplomacy will do its utmost so that all parties remain committed to the peace process, which is crucial not only to the region concerned, but for the entire world. PAM, he said, will continue to offer its good offices to whoever comes forward, like in the case of the Malta Meeting, on the request by the UN Secretary-General for PAM‟s involvement to promote the initiative across the region and other Parliamentary Assemblies. „We are also determined to make good use of our Observer Status at the General Assembly of the United Nations so that we can follow closer the developments in the negotiations, and we will not hesitate to undertake all the necessary parliamentary initiatives to support the process, which we sincerely hope will lead to a long lasting peace‟, PAM President concluded. Based on the concrete outcome of the Malta Meeting, the Secretary General of PAM, Dr. Sergio Piazzi, highlighted as the next step forward, the need for the Assembly to look into the regional dimension of the issue, whereby the Member Parliaments can provide additional impetus to the peace process in the region.