SYRIZA INTERNATIONAL AND PEACE DEPARTMENT
A widespread feeling of insecurity – due to many sources - among European citizens, should not be allowed to be transformed into intolerance, war-mongering logic, and extreme racist – including Islamophobic - behavior. The so called refugee crisis must not lead to similar behavior on the part of European governments and peoples.
The EU leaders, including our government, must work out a peace program for the Middle East and Mediterranean. They have to reject resolutely sermons of hatred by the extreme right and “theories” such as the class of civilizations on “conflicting cultures”. The danger must be averted of refugees becoming scapegoats, solely because they have come from Muslim countries. These millions of refugees are already the victims of wars in the Middle East and North Africa, but also of the brutal onslaught of jihadists in Iraq and Syria. If they were to become targets of a witch-hunt in European societies, it would be to the shame of Europe and its culture, with tragic consequences for democracy.
Following the recent dramatic developments, it has become more that evident that the cause of peace in the Middle East is an issue of vital importance, not only for the countries and peoples of the region, but also for Europe and the entire world.
Our peace proposal is as follows:
1. International efforts to end the war in Syria must be intensified. Participation in a peace process is required by all parties in the Syrian civil war. The goal for Syria must be to establish a representative transitional government that will work for national reconciliation, safeguard the country’s integrity and safeguard the Syrian people’s opportunity to elect a democratic post-war government, through multi-party elections. The country’s reconstruction with democratic institutions, including civil society, will neutralize jihadists and fundamentalists of all kinds, and will permit millions of refugees to return home, especially those who have fled to neighboring countries.
2. One basic cause of the conflicts in the Middle East is the fact that this region is characterized by the lack of democracy, as well as of viable human development, despite being very rich in reserves of oil, natural gas and other sources of energy. The social and other inequalities in the region are blatant and must be dealt with without delay.
3. Another serious cause of conflicts in the Middle East is the fact that it is now the most highly militarized region on Earth, absorbing some 30% of legal arms exports worldwide, as well as a large part of the illegal arms trade. Therefore the international community, if it wants to respond effectively to the jihadists, must impose strict controls over arms exports to the region, accompanied by an embargo on exports to warring countries or groups.
4. For some decades now, we have been pointing out that the key problem for peace in the Middle East is the Palestinian one, for which a just and viable solution must be found to end the Israeli occupation according to UN resolutions. A state of Palestine and the State of Israel can live alongside to each other and enjoy equal security. This issue has now taken on critical priority. In this direction, Greece is also called upon to contribute by recognizing a Palestinian State, among other initiatives that our government can and must take.
5. Of increased significance is the regeneration and promotion of the peace process between Ankara and the Kurds, to the benefit of a democratic and peace-loving Turkey, a stable factor for peace and security in the entire Middle East and Mediterranean.
6. Developments also require that the Cyprus issue is approached as a central problem of peace and security in the Mediterranean. Our view is that by resolving the problem on the basis of UN Resolutions, Cyprus can set an example of co-existence between two different ethnic and religious communities, and can become Europe’s peace bridge to the Middle East.
7. Greece and the Republic of Cyprus must work together towards the convocation of a Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean, a proposal that was once described as the “Mediterranean Helsinki” and was supported strongly by Spain and Malta. The focal point of the Conference would be Euro-Mediterranean Collaboration, its primary goal being to bridge the explosive north-south chasm in the Mediterranean.
The above proposal was drafted, following the terrorist attack on Paris, and was approved by the Secretariat of the International Relations and Peace Affairs Department on November 20, 2015.
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