March 20-22, 2009, Beirut.
Starting with the Oslo Process, the search for solutions to conflicts in the Middle East has been determined by mediation efforts of external players, mainly the US. In the past years, regional players have assumed a more active role in conflict management.
Prominent examples are the Arab Peace Initiative launched by Saudi-Arabia, the Doha Accord mediated by Qatar, the Turkish shuttle diplomacy between Syria and Israel, and the Egyptian mediation between Israel and the Hamas.
What are the reasons behind this rise of regional initiatives? Does mediation by regional actors enhance the chances for successful conflict resolution? How are the negotiations and their results to be assessed? How can the EU and the US support these efforts and how should their interests be considered? To what extent is an active role of external players (e.g. US, EU, Middle East Quartet) indispensable?
Chaired by former German President Richard von Weizsäcker and moderated by Volker Perthes, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, politicians, officials and experts from the Middle East, Europe and the US discussed at the 142nd Bergedorf Round Table in Beirut the benefits and risks of regional approaches to conflict resolution and develop perspectives for effective cooperation between regional and external players.
The Bergedorf Round Table was opened by a key note statement (PDF) by the Lebanese H.E. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
Previously to the Bergedorf Round Table the participants met H.E. Michel Suleiman, President of the Lebanese Republic.
The 142nd Bergedorf Round Table continues Körber Foundation’s long tradition of dialogue with the Middle East.
In the past there have been numerous events focusing on the Middle East, lastly the 139th Bergedorf Round Table on “Iraq and its Neighbours: Strategies for Stability” (Damascus, 2008) and the 136th Bergedorf Round Table “Turkey as a Partner for European Foreign Policy in the Middle East” (Istanbul, 2007) as well as the Political Background Discussions with H. E. Masoud Barzani, President of the Federal Region Kurdistan-Iraq, as well as H.R.H. Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.