Conclusions Madrid+15 Conference
The meeting offered an opportunity to reflect on the successes and failures of the Madrid process. It provided an excellent opportunity to reignite an interest among participants in moving forward on the challenges emanating from the conflicts in the region, as well as an opportunity for civil society and officials to interact and exchange perspectives on the common goal of the conference.
o We had a frank debate on where the Middle East stands today on outstanding issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
o We heard an honest exchange of views on concerns, constraints, and opportunities on issues between Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine as well as the regional approach.
There is a need to reassert firmly the spirit of Madrid 1991: a spirit of compromise and reason and an approach that is regional in scope. While the region has changed in the past 15 years, the spirit of Madrid 1991 and subsequent efforts such as the Clinton Peace Parameters, the Arab League Peace Initiative of 2002 and the Road map remain a basis upon which to bridge the remaining differences and assist in creating the political will tragically missing today.
o There is a clear sense of urgency in this challenge. Participants discouraged interim agreements as a negotiated destination and called for an immediate return to negotiations towards a final and expedient comprehensive regional agreement.
o Participants reached a general consensus on the need for international engagement to seize the opportunity of this meeting and push the process forward. Many encouraged states to convene an official international peace conference for the region of the Near East, in the “spirit of Madrid”.
o A recommendation was made for a follow-up meeting to explore ways the participants can move towards these goals. A steering group should be formed to guide the process. In this regard, the organizers of “Madrid +15” will be in touch with the participants.