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* A/59/50 and Corr.1.
2. In this connection, a note verbale dated 18 February 2004 was sent to States and relevant intergovernmental organizations. The replies received are reproduced in section II below. Any replies received subsequently will be issued as addenda to the present report.
II. Replies received from States
13. The Mediterranean faces security challenges which are as varied as they are numerous. In addition to often chronic conflicts, whether open or latent, and the heightened effects of certain global social phenomena, the Mediterranean is feeling the full effects of new, widespread and violent threats, such as terrorism. Those challenges are not of course specific to the region but, when combined with other regional factors, they are exacerbated and take on added importance.
14. More specifically, the development gaps between an integrated and prosperous Europe and a southern flank, which is still developing, highlight the social and economic problems facing the two sides. The economic disparities between the two sides of the Mediterranean speak volumes: annual per capita income is $20,000 in the European Union countries but only $2,000 in the Maghreb and the Middle East. That economic gap between North and South in the Mediterranean region gives rise to and accentuates such troubling phenomena as illicit trafficking and illegal migration, a situation which fuels tensions in the Mediterranean subregions.
15. International terrorism has unquestionably acquired a global dimension. That phenomenon has not spared the Mediterranean, as evidenced by the attacks in Djerba, Casablanca, Istanbul and Madrid. The fight against this insidious and unpredictable threat which has challenged the world order requires collaborative efforts through a comprehensive and concerted approach to eradicating its various root causes and manifestations.
16. The lack of progress towards disarmament at the international and regional levels, together with the refusal of some countries to accede to multilateral non-proliferation conventions, has the potential to affect the climate of confidence and exacerbate the arms race in the region.
17. Moreover, the protracted crises which have become almost chronic cannot help but affect security in the region. In that regard, the Middle East conflict continues to escalate, in spite of initiatives on the part of the international community and mediation efforts; it poses a serious threat to the Mediterranean identity and is a powder keg which threatens the stability of the Mediterranean.
18. Other challenges of an environmental nature, such as water shortages and excessive demand on water resources in many areas of the Mediterranean, could increase tension in the region.
19. Given the growing challenges to peace and security in the Mediterranean and the benefits derived from a policy of openness founded on dialogue, shared management of regional issues and acts of solidarity, Morocco has, since the end of the 1980s, contributed to various initiatives aimed at the promotion of real cooperation between the two shores of the Mediterranean.
20. In that context, Morocco’s cooperation with the Mediterranean countries has been a singularly positive one, because the Kingdom prepared the way for or initiated a number of measures aimed at restructuring the Mediterranean strategic space and strengthening dialogue and cooperation between the two sides. Morocco has always sought to enrich the conceptual framework of Euro-Mediterranean relations, adapt their institutional mechanisms and improve the operational effectiveness of Mediterranean regional consultation and cooperation structures.
21. The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Barcelona process) in particular, which is the most comprehensive and multidimensional initiative in that it deals with security in the Mediterranean in its various economic, political, cultural and social dimensions, is a fine example of such efforts.
22. The regional framework is complemented by profuse and varied bilateral relationships between Morocco and the European Union. The longstanding, dense, robust and multidimensional nature of relations between Morocco and Europe has led the two parties to give their relations the advanced integration status requested by Morocco, which is perfectly in keeping with the European Union’s new European Neighbourhood policy.
23. The Mediterranean Forum, the 5+5 Dialogue and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation initiative reinforce and complement in a useful and relevant manner the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.
24. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Mediterranean Dialogue, in which Morocco has participated since it was launched in 1994, provides an important framework for political consultation, a satisfactory tool for practical cooperation and an essential conduit for information exchange. Morocco has also contributed to the Alliance’s efforts to stabilize the Balkans in the context of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and the Stabilization Force (SFOR) missions, in which the Kingdom is participating pursuant to United Nations resolutions.
25. Thanks to the growing number of cooperation and consultation mechanisms established with a view to promoting cooperation for security in the Mediterranean, there is a true sense of shared purpose, which should be accompanied by efforts to make optimal use of resources and methods. Although the existence of such structures makes a positive contribution to regional security, their actions must be coordinated in order to avoid duplication and to develop synergies capable of reinforcing stability in the Mediterranean.
26. Furthermore, the key to the establishment of a Mediterranean regional order founded on a truly balanced partnership is improving the sense of ownership of the countries on the southern shore with regard to those various structures and initiatives.
27. Morocco has always believed that the shared nature of security requires the adoption of a comprehensive and concerted approach capable of ensuring peace and security in the region and of transforming it into a region of mutual prosperity, based on active cooperation and joint responsibility between Europe and the countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
28. The concept of the indivisibility of security now calls for the circle of Euro-Mediterranean solidarity to be widened to include other neighbouring regions, particularly Africa.
29. The Kingdom of Morocco believes that the closing of the social and economic development gap and the establishment of confidence-building measures between the countries of the region should serve as a catalyst for the emergence of a stable and prosperous regional order which will progress from security based solely on the concept of vigilance towards truly integrated security for the benefit of all the peoples of the region.
30. It nevertheless remains true that only real political will on the part of the States of the region can contribute to overcoming the stereotype of the Mediterranean as an area of crisis and restore it to its original role as a zone of peace and economic, human and cultural exchanges.
32. The Republic of Panama supports any initiative, whether bilateral or multilateral, that would provide greater guarantees against threats to international peace and security and would therefore contribute to enhancing peace and cooperation in the region.
33. In this connection, Panama deems it important to favour the necessary conditions for strengthening mutual confidence-building measures among States. In particular, it believes that participation in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms would contribute to stability in the region.
34. Lastly, Panama believes that the Mediterranean countries should be encouraged to continue their cooperation in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and in combating international crime, illicit arms trafficking and illicit drug production, consumption and trafficking, which diminish the quality of life of their peoples and pose a serious threat to peace and stability in the region. To this end, the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, as well as various multilateral agreements in a number of fields must be taken into account.
35. The Republic of Panama is convinced that such measures will build confidence and reduce the perceived threat in the region. It therefore looks forward to the achievement of significant progress on issues underlying the conflict itself, as well as better communication among countries traditionally thought to be adversaries.