Thanks to Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi’s impetus, Italy is in the forefront in promoting relations between the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the six Mediterranean nations – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel – that have been its partners since 1996. It is Italy’s firm conviction, in the wake of the Arab Spring, that OSCE’s history, experience and instruments can be especially effective in fostering the stabilisation of democratic processes in the region.
The Mediterranean Conference taking place today and tomorrow at the foreign ministry in Rome falls within the framework of Italy’s efforts toward the development of the OSCE-Mediterranean partnership. The conference’s highest post of Secretary General has been held since July by Italian diplomat Lamberto Zannier.
The conference is the partnership’s most important annual event, and is dedicated to economic cooperation with the countries of the southern Mediterranean, a fundamental factor in consolidating the transitions under way in those countries and in the region’s development and its peoples’ coexistence.
Participants include the representatives of the 56 OSCE Member States, 6 Mediterranean partners, Libya, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Libya Tarek Mitri, the Palestinian National Authority, financial institutions and international organisations such as the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, academic experts and the civil society.
The impact of Italy’s efforts within OSCE, spurred by Minister Terzi, will have their concrete follow-up during the Rome conference, where the OSCE-MED project, promoted by Italy and supported by the Ukraine presidency of the Mediterranean Contact Group in addition to the Secretary General of OSCE himself, will be launched today.
The project involves the collaboration of OSCE experts and two Italian bodies concerned with international issues – IAI and IPALMO – with major European think-tanks, academic centres and representatives of the civil society, to generate innovative initiatives aimed at strengthening relations between OSCE and the southern Mediterranean countries. Another operational follow-up is planned for early 2013 in the form of a workshop on human trafficking in the Mediterranean region organized by OSCE Special Representative Mariagrazia Giammarinaro.