Against war and intervention in the middle east
AGAINST WAR AND INTERVENTION
IN THE MIDDLE EAST
ORGANIZED BY GUE/NGL
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, BRUSSELS
16 OCTOBER 2013, 15.00 – 18.30
Moderator – Kyriacos TRIANTAPHYLLIDES, MEP GUE/NGL, AKEL Cyprus
15.00 – 15.05 Opening by Gabi ZIMMER, GUE/NGL President
15.05 – 16.15 Panellists:
1. Stefanos STEFANOU, Member Political Bureau AKEL, Cyprus
2. Moataz ELHEFNAWY, Responsible International Department, Egyptian Communist Party
3. Navid SHOMALI, Member Political Committee of the CC, Tudeh Party of Iran
4. Hanin NEMR, General Secretary, Syrian Communist Party (Unified)
5. Rabih DEIRAKI, Member International Relations Committee, Lebanese Communist Party
6. Kemal OKUYAN, Member Central Committee, Turkish Communist Party
7. Bassam SALHI, General Secretary, Palestinian People's Party, Member PLC
8. Aida TOUMA-SLIMAN, Member Political Bureau, Communist Party of Israel
16.15 – 17.45 Debate
17.45 – 18.20 Replies by the panellists
18.20 Conclusion by the Moderator
18.30 – 19.00 Cocktail outside room 1G2
Seminar brings Middle East anti-war forces together for debate with MEPs
Welcoming participants to today's GUE/NGL seminar 'Against war and intervention in the Middle East' in the European Parliament, GUE/NGL MEP Kyriacos Triantaphyllides called for democracy and dialogue to be used as the principal tools in problem-solving in the region.
“For today's GUE/NGL seminar, representatives of communist parties from Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Palestine and Israel have been invited, but unfortunately the representatives from Syria and Lebanon were not given a visa,” he said. “The seminar's main focus is on the efforts to oppose war and interventionist policies in the Middle East, in particular taking into account the current circumstances in Syria but also in other so-called Arab Spring countries.”
GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer opened the event by saying the problems up for discussion were by no means new, thanks to decades of major powers putting their own interests above those of the people of the region.
“The Syrian crisis has again exposed the failure of current European policy when it comes to the Middle East. While there is a glimmer of hope in the return to diplomacy in Syria, the situation remains complex and the refugee issue grows more urgent by the day. Meanwhile the EU continues to use all means at its disposal to prevent refugees entering EU territory,” she told participants, outlining the GUE/NGL's work to build a different approach to the current resources-obsessed, securitarian way in which the EU currently deals with such problems.
“You have our full solidarity in fighting against military interventionism. Your struggle is our struggle,” she said.
The following international representatives among others continued the discussions:
Stefanos Stefanou, Member Political Bureau AKEL, Cyprus said “the chronicle of wars and imperialist interventions in the region goes back many decades in time. This is because the Middle East is a region of priceless value for world domination and global economic dominance.” He accused the US and the EU of “talking about democracy and democratic processes” while supporting “all the monarchist and authoritarian regimes in the region which violate human rights and freedoms on a mass scale.” Stefanou demanded an end to all foreign interventions in the region saying “the struggle for democracy and the sovereign will of the people of each country is matter of its people alone”; an end to the unilateral actions of foreign states in the region; the solving of the problems that beset the region (the Palestinian problem, the Cyprus problem, the problems of Lebanon, Egypt and Syria, etc) in a way that would ensure peace and the well-intentioned interests of the peoples of the region – “the guiding compass and basis for solving these problems must be the relevant United Nations resolutions and International Law” he said. Finally he called for a ban on all nuclear and chemical weapons.
Moataz Elhefnawy, Responsible for International Department, Egyptian Communist Party, summarised the situation and events in Egypt since last June 30th. He called on all democratic forces to support and assist the Egyptian people “to achieve their decisive victory” and succeed in implementing the road map towards achieving the objectives of the revolution and the building of a modern, democratic, civil Egypt. He spoke about the campaign to counter the right-wing Islamic project in Egypt, to form a unified leadership of left-wing parties and to push for social justice and worker and peasant empowerment.
Navid Shomali, Member Political Committee of the CC, Tudeh Party of Iran said the seminar was taking place “at a very sensitive juncture in the history of the Middle East” and spoke of the “immense pressure exerted by US imperialism and its allies in both Europe and the Middle East” to redraw the political map of the region”. Shomali asserted that the distorted and deeply reactionary economic structure across the region was a by-product of imperialist interventionist policies in the Middle East. He also criticised Iran's “clerical” regime against which the Iranian people struggle for peace, democracy and social justice and finished with a call for progress and international solidarity.
Kemal Okuyan, Member Central Committee, Turkish Communist Party focused his intervention on the role of Turkey in the latest developments in the Middle East and his party's efforts to “expose the character of the AKP (current party in government) both domestically and internationally”. He accused Prime Minister Erdogan of merely serving US interests.
Bassam Salhi, General Secretary, Palestinian People's Party, Member PLC and Aida Touma-Sliman, Member Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Israel also contributed to the debate.
Further details of the event and speeches will be uploaded here.
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Vera Polycarpou + 32 2831448 [email protected]
Stelios Christodoulou +32 2841431 [email protected]
Press contact: Gianfranco Battistini + 32 475 646628 [email protected]