DOHA: (Agencies: 14/1/2011): The 7th Forum for the Future Ministerial Meeting between the G8 and Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) countries failed to come up with a joint declaration with Canada being held responsible for the failure.
H.E. the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mr. Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud in his address at the closing session of the Forum remarked bitterly that although the meetings of the past two days were fruitful, a joint declaration failed to materialise.
He expressed hope that the co-chairs of the next Forum, Kuwait and France would not face “the problems that we had to face so that we could reach a consensus that reflects our desire for a brighter future, stability and justice,” he said.
“During the discussions for the past two days, we witnessed a lot of cooperation between government, the private sector and civil society organisations’ representatives despite that a declaration has not been made.”
Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada and co-chairman of the 7th Forum for the Future, noted that Qatar and Canada have worked closely together for the past year in an attempt to revitalise the G8-MENA process, but a declaration could not be made yesterday.
“Nevertheless, we should not forsake the progress we have made,” said Cannon. “Canada is committed to work with our partner Qatar to issue a co-chair statement which reflects the progress we have made and which takes into account the situation in the region including the Middle East process. We are committed to consulting with our partners to finalise the co-chair statement in the very near future. This will be a record of our discussions which will allow us move forward built on the progress achieved this past year.
”Salahadin Jourchi, 1st Vice President of Human Rights League in Tunisia, who represented the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) during the opening session of the 7th Forum for the Future, held Canada accountable for hindering the progress on the final declaration.
He was speaking at a joint news conference with Dr Ali bin Smaikh Al Marri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee and Bakhtiar Amen, Former Minister for Human Rights of Iraq and founder of International Alliance for Justice, after the closing session of the Forum.
Amen said two points of the declaration were agreed upon except one of them, a paragraph that was related to the Palestinian issue which did not allow the forum to come out with the declaration which has a moral commitment to the governments participating in this Forum.
“However, for the first time, this was one of the greatest Forums in terms of substance and composition and also participation and quality of discussions. The only shortfall is that we did not come out with a declaration and hope that this would not blow up the rest of the good work that has been done,” he said.
Amen suggested inviting observers from Asian countries, Asian organization members like India, Malaysia, China or Indonesia and South Korea who have made a lot of progress in the field of education and technology.
“We CSOs from the region are accused of being too much Western oriented. Let us be Eastern oriented and bring positive experiences from East towards the region,” he said.
Qatar proposes establishment of centre for Human Security:
H.E. the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani in his address at the closing session of the 7th Forum for the Future, proposed two humanitarian initiatives: first, the establishment of a regional centre for Human Security with a mandate to conduct studies and researches on comprehensive human security in the region.
The centre would then submit to decision makers practical solutions that take into account the joint regional perspective for the best interests of the countries of the region in establishing peace and development for their peoples.
Secondly: Qatar in collaboration with the International Peace Institute has launched the humanitarian operations initiative which revolves around the idea of forming a force specialising in humanitarian operations to serve as a framework for cooperation among the countries willing to help in cases of disasters. This force, H.E. added will operate under the umbrella of the United Nations and will be called HOPEFOR.