Nicolas Sarkozy, seen below with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, relished his role as host of 43 nations from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, launching his new Mediterranean Union. At the culmination of the meeting held in Paris yesterday, the nations' leaders condemned "terrorism in all forms" and agreed to "pursue a mutually and effectively verifiable Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction."
Sarkozy's brainstorm has achieved the bold initiative of bringing together warring and impoverished nations alongside wealthy and industrialized nations to form the Mediterranean Union. He said at the closing of the summit yesterday, "we dreamed about a Union for the Mediterranean, and now it is a reality."
Leaders from the nations around the Mediterranean discussed a litany of problems including poverty, immigration, global warming and dwindling resources. To see how the Mediterranean Union plans to tackle peace in the Middle East, read more.
Though traditionally the gathering of nations like France, Italy, and Spain with Syria, Lebanon, and Israel might have yielded little in the way of substance, this might be the right summit at the right time. Instead of discussing abstract economic theories on disparity between Europe and the Middle East, they focused on practical projects like a lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors. “We will build peace in the Mediterranean together, like yesterday we built peace in Europe,” Sarkozy said to his guests.
Among the goals agreed upon are “objectives of achieving peace, stability and security” in the region, a region-wide solar energy project, a Mediterranean student exchange program, a pollution eradication plan, as well as "practical steps to prevent the proliferation" of nuclear weapons, signed by all — including Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert — though stops short of planning enforcement.
Is this a good move toward solving conflict — or another photo-op and handshake-meeting with no clear plan for results?