- January 23, 2008
Gaza Blockade Overshadows Alexandria Conference
Peace Studies Institute belonging affiliated to Suzanne Mubarak Women”s International Peace Movement held in the Alexandria library a conference over cross-cultural dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean and Gulf regions.
A huge number of Arab and European delegations participated in the conference to discuss a number of cultural issues including the relations between religions, social modernism, education, common values and the effect of cultural dialogue on solving disputes.
The tragic situations that the Palestinian people are currently facing in Gaza Strip overshadowed the conference which was wrapped up on Monday Jan, 21st, 2008.
The conference last day sessions highlighted a rejection to the humanitarian disaster that takes place in Gaza . Ambassador Ali Maher, the chairman of the conference, pointed out that the savage aggressions against civilians, blockade, prevention of food, drugs, power stations and closing electricity imposed on Gaza residents are fullu contradicting with the objectives of the conference that calls for holding a dialogue between cultures and respecting human and civilian rights. Consequently, this Israeli aggressive behaviour must be condemned, according to him.
Maher demanded in the press conference held on Monday at the end of the conference all countries concerned to intervene in order to stop this inhumane blockade and he expressed his solidarity with the Palestinian people, stressing that no sound cultural dialogue can ignore this serious situation .
In a related context, ambassador Jack Hinterberger- the envoy of the French Foreign Ministry- voiced his rejection to the Zionist blockade and fanaticism calling for immediately lifting the blockade imposed on Gaza .
Prince El Hassan bin Talal, Chairman of the Arab Thought Forum, said that “there are black holes” in the cultural exchange which is the basis of dialogue and interaction among people”, confirming that no cultural contact can be established while Gaza Strip is facing violations against civilians, a blockade and a starvation in addition to what other countries of the region are facing.
Ambassador Laila Takla, founding chairperson of the Egyptian female lawyers union, confirmed that if Europe seeks to bridge gaps of communication with the South, it should contribute to solving the Palestinian cause and it must abandon its arrogant rhetoric and stop intervening in internal affairs of other countries.
The participants demanded European countries attending the conference to exert efforts to stop the Israeli aggression and end the blockade imposed on Gaza Strip.
The final statement of the conference highlighted adhering to human rights, working for a peace based on justice, making a dialogue a method for soling disagreements and condemning all forms of violence and terrorism. The final statement lamented also the painful developments taking place on the Palestinian arena and demanded taking a practical attitude to end the blockade and open the crossings.
It”s worth mentioning that this is third conference of such a kind about the dialogue of peoples and cultures in the Euro-Mediterranean and Gulf regions. The previous two conferees were held in Paris in September 2006 and in Sevilla in June 2007. This conference was attended by former French President Jacques Chirac, and Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak in addition to other European, Arab and Turkish figures.