Update 3: 5+5 summit starts
The democratisation process and transition in countries involved in the Arab spring will be long but long-term interests should never be forgotten, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said this afternoon.
Speaking in Maltese during the opening ceremony of the 5+5 summit being held in Malta, Dr Gonzi said he opted to speak in his native language which was an official EU language and a language understood by many Arabs.
He said that the Arab spring took crowds of people to the streets of Benghazi, Tripoli, Misurata, Tunis and Cairo, where thy fought and gave up their lives for the common good.
These people had expressed their wish for a better future, democracy and respect for fundamental human rights and their courage sent a message for a better life for the people of the region and a greater respect for human rights, pluralism, social justice and fundamental human rights.
Dr Gonzi said that although the aim of the revolutions in the region was common, one had to avoid taking a common position for all countries.
It was essential to develop a unique dialogue to ensure adequate support for a transition built on reciprocal agreement.
Dr Gonzi's welcome speech in full can be read in the pdf link below.
Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz spoke on problem in the region and said that Mauritania was making a lot of effort to improve systems and include political dialogue between the different political forces while liberating and opening up the media.
Italian President Mario Monti has proposed the extension of the 5+5 dialogue to also include education, educational training and people to people contract, among other areas.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 5+5 summit at Castille, he said that the summit is playing a key role on the path towards the revitalisation of European and Mediterranean cooperation.
The dialogue, he said, had proven to be effective and led to cooperation in many important fields including home affairs, environment, transport. But it was now time to extend it to other areas.
The main goal, he said, was to create a stronger cooperation between the 5+5 members. The summit could also play a decisive role in the reinforcement of cooperation between the EU and the Arab world.
Inspiration, Mr Monti said, had to be taken from Malta's history and the summit could shape the role of the 5+5 as a tangible and sound bridge connecting Maghreb states and Europe.
Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki said that people in Arab states were building new systems of democracy.
Profound changes had taken place and these changes were good news for Europe. As for the same time the same values and ideas were being shared.
Democratic systems , he said, did not fight each other but worked to find solutions.
He noted that Arab states were doing their utmost to control illegal migration to Europe.
GONZI ADDRESSES WORKING LUNCH
Addressing a working lunch later, Dr Gonzi expressed the leaders’ collective concern at the unrest Syria and called for more active engagement to renew the Middle East Peace Process.
Malta, he said, proposed that the 5+5 Dialogue should;
• reaffirm scope and relevance of the Forum to act as an incubator of projects,
• undertake a general review of the new areas of cooperation like education, the environment and energy, and;
• seek synergy with the Union for the Mediterranean and the European
Dr Gonzi said Malta remained committed to fulfill its vocation of promoting stability and dialogue in the Mediterranean.
After lunch, the leaders walked to the Upper Barrakka Gardens where they treated to an eight-cannon gun salute.
His whole speech can be read in the pdf link below.