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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

12 January 2007

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.

What is Madrid+15?
Madrid+15 is a civil society initiative which aspires to identify the concerns and expectations of the respective parties and deliberate on what could constitute the beginning of an official political process, culminating in a peace conference that would seek to create the conditions for a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Toledo International Center for Peace, Search for Common Ground, the Tres Culturas del Mediterráneo Foundation, FAFO and International Crisis Group, take this opportunity to commemorate the fifteen anniversary of the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference by bringing together influential figures from the parties of the conflict and other relevant actors to mark the need for an internationally-backed regional approach to peace and stability in the Middle East.

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