5+5 Dialogue – Tunis Declaration at the First Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Countries of the Western Mediterranean basin¹
Tunis, 6 December 2003
The Heads of State and Government of the countries of the Western Basin of the Mediterranean (Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania – France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain), meeting on the occasion of the first 5+5 Dialogue Summit held in Tunis on 5 and 6 December 2003 at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and with the participation of the President of the European Commission and the Secretary General of the Arab Maghreb Union,
Aware of the importance of the common historical and civilisational heritage of countries of the Western Basin of the Mediterranean and their shared aspirations towards peace, stability and prosperity,
- consider the 5+5 Dialogue as a regional forum for consultation, cooperation and comprehensive thinking, which shall serve the common interests of member countries and establish, on the basis of solidarity, a mutually-beneficial partnership,
- express their satisfaction at the continuation and reinforcement of the 5+5 Dialogue in the spirit of the Declaration of Rome of 10 October 1990, that of Algiers of 27 October 1991 and that of Lisbon of 26 January 2001,
Having exchanged views on the themes on the Summit agenda, declare the following:
Convinced that the evolution of the international political, security and economic situation gives rise to new challenges,
- reiterate their willingness to further reinforce confidence-building measures in all fields, as well as dialogue between their countries, in order to reach a common perception of current issues, which shall make possible their peaceful settlement and thus meet the expectations of peoples of the Western Basin of the Mediterranean,
- agree on the importance of seeing the European Union accompany its enlargement process by a parallel supportive effort towards countries of the southern bank of the Western Mediterranean. In this connection, they welcome the New Neighbourhood Policy put forward by the European Commission, considering that it shall offer new opportunities to reinforce relations between the two banks of the Western Mediterranean, with a view to reaching, by the most appropriate means, a comprehensive, solidary and balanced partnership based on the principles of good neighbourhood, mutual respect, and reciprocal trust.
SECURITY AND STABILITY
Aware of the inextricable link between peace, security and development:
- reiterate their strong condemnation of terrorism, in all its forms, and of organized transnational crime, namely drug trafficking, arms dealing and money laundering,
- confirm their commitment to endeavouring together to fight against these plagues, in view of the threats they represent to peace and stability in the region,
- welcoming the initiatives taken by the 5+5 countries aiming at consolidating and intensifying common action in order to eradicate these plagues, underline the necessity of further coordinating their efforts to have these initiatives adopted at the regional and international levels,
- renew their commitment to implementing the relevant international conventions and recommendations, in particular UNSCR 1373,
- stress the importance of proposals relating both to the comprehensive United Nations Convention on terrorism and to the convening of an international conference on this issue within the framework of the United Nations, and consider with interest the initiative of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on the elaboration of an International Code of Conduct on the fight against terrorism, with a view to reinforcing the international consensus and to dissipating any form of amalgam, in conformity with the relevant international instruments,
- reiterate their determination to further consolidate cooperation in security matters between their countries, on the one hand, and in political consultation between the Arab Maghreb Union and the European Union, on the other, as well as to intensify cooperation in economic, social and cultural development, to contribute to the reinforcement of the foundations of stability in the region of the Western Basin of the Mediterranean.
- emphasize the importance of the close cooperation established between the Ministers of the Interior of the countries of the 5+5 Dialogue and invite them to intensify it,
- take note of the project of a ’Pact for Peace and Stability in the Western Basin of the Mediterranean’, put forward by the Great Jamahiriya.
REGIONAL INTEGRATION & ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Aware of the profound socio-economic interdependence in the Western Basin of the Mediterranean,
- reiterate their attachment to the process of regional and sub-regional economic integration, through the creation of a Maghreb free-trade area as one of the tools to achieve such integration,
- insist on the necessity of materialising, in a spirit of solidarity, cooperation aimed at reducing socio-economic disparities between the two banks of the Western Mediterranean,
- welcome the adoption of reinforced cooperations between the Arab Maghreb Union and the European Union, which represent a new impulse to Maghreb economic integration,
- underscore the need to intensify a mutually-beneficial cooperation in priority fields, particularly the promotion of investments through the creation of an annual business and investment forum in the Western Mediterranean, the promotion of tourism flows, the facilitation of exchanges, the protection of the environment, the consolidation of the infra-structure and of the existing capacities in the energy, environment, water resources, transport and telecommunications sectors, with a view to providing the necessary platform for sustainable development in the region,
- emphasize the interest in setting up the FEMIP (Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership Facility), in the perspective of the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Bank, which shall contribute to the reinforcement of regional integration within this space.
SOCIAL AND HUMAN COOPERATION
Conscious of the importance of human exchanges between the two banks of the Western Basin of the Mediterranean and eager to reinforce and enrich them,
- express their satisfaction at the adoption of the comprehensive and balanced approach on migrations within the framework of the Tunis Declaration issued in October 2002 at the Ministerial Conference dealing with the issues of migration and at the adoption of the implementation document of this Declaration at the 2nd ministerial meeting held in Rabat in October 2003 and welcome the holding of the 3rd meeting of this conference in Algiers during the year 2004,
- having in mind the conclusions of the 6th Arab Maghreb Summit, held in Tunis in April 1994, including that relating to migration, agree on the importance of consolidating further the integration of migrants legally residing in host countries and on endeavouring to protect their rights in conformity with national legislations in these countries, and declare their support for all efforts aiming at ensuring favourable conditions to facilitate the movement of persons, and residence conditions,
- express their conviction that the regulation of migration towards Europe represents an important economic, social and human factor both for the host countries and for the countries of origin,
- underline that the fight against illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings requires a common action and concerted cooperation, including on the operational level, and a better way to address the real causes of these plagues, while paying attention to respect of human dignity.
DIALOGUE BETWEEN CULTURES AND CIVILIZATIONS
Aware of the importance of the common civilisational heritage of the peoples of the Western Basin of the Mediterranean, a space of religious tolerance and a cradle of age-old civilizations and cultures that have contributed to the progress of humanity,
- welcome the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures and Civilizations and express their interest in the finalization of the project of the "Mediterranean Year", as an event attesting to this common civilisational heritage,
- call for the consolidation of dialogue between cultures and civilizations in order to spread the values of tolerance and moderation which shall promote mutual understanding between peoples, on the basis of co-existence and reciprocal comprehension, while respecting cultural diversity within the framework of the universality of values and the territorial integrity of States,
- underline the necessity of undertaking common projects favouring creation in various cultural fields,
- agree on the important role of diverse components of the civil society in the 5+5 countries in anchoring the culture of dialogue and consolidating the common civilisational heritage of peoples of the region.
Having examined the current international situation and following a profound exchange of views on issues of common interest and on the challenges these issues represent for peace and security in the Western Basin of the Mediterranean and in the whole world,
- emphasize the importance of intensifying political consultation between their countries in order to contribute to the peaceful settlement of all these issues,
- call for the relaunch of the Middle East Peace Process in conformity with international legality, namely UNSCR 1515, with a view to promoting the chances for a just, comprehensive and final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
- equally express their support for the restoration of the sovereignty of Iraq and the preservation of the unity of its people and its territorial integrity, within the framework of UNSCR 1511, with the aim of restoring peace in Iraq, engaging in its reconstruction and accelerating the transfer of power to Iraqis,
- reiterate their common determination to cooperate in order to turn the Western Basin of the Mediterranean into a space of peace, stability solidarity, prosperity, freedom and justice, on the basis of respect of the shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law,
- convinced of the need to reinforce cooperation for sustainable development in the Western Basin of the Mediterranean, call upon the European Union to consider, within the framework of its New Neighbourhood Policy, this space as a strategic zone where common action shall continue in order to ensure the conditions for security, stability and regional integration.
FOLLOW-UP TO THE SUMMIT
Convinced that the 5+5 Dialogue represents one of the pillars of peace, security, stability and development in the region,
- confirm their interest in the holding of the next Summit,
- invite the Ministers of Foreign Affairs to ensure the follow-up of the recommendations of this summit,
The Heads of State and Government extend their thanks to President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and to the Tunisian Government and people for their hospitality and warm welcome as well as for the excellent organization of this Summit./.
¹ Source of English text: www.tunisiaonline.com