Water Politics Prevent Parties From Even Getting to Bargaining Table

As recently reported by Terra Daily, a conference of European Union and Mediterranean states due to take place in Jordan has been postponed indefinitely because of regional tensions.  This situation – where parties gathering to discuss water (as a prelude to avoiding water conflicts) have not even been able to get to the negotiating table – is hardly a positive harbinger for future discourse and practical negotiation.  As the article notes:

“The conference (on water) has been postponed at the request of Jordan for reasons to do with the tensions between the Arab League and Israel,” said the environment ministry in France, co-chair with Egypt of the Union for the Mediterranean (UPM).

An official in Amman confirmed the conference had been called off, adding that the Jordanian government would later issue a statement to explain the decision.

The long-planned ministerial conference was due to have taken place at Swaimeh on the banks of the Dead Sea. It was mentioned specifically in the July 13 declaration at the Paris summit marking the creation of the UPM.

Its stated aim was to establish the broad framework of a long-term strategy for water in the Mediterranean and to establish the first concrete plans in the sector.

The UPM has 43 members: the 27 European Union states and 16 Mediterranean nations.

In Cairo, meanwhile, an Arab League official said Saturday that the 22-member organisation would attend meetings of the UPM despite Israeli objections.

“We all agreed the Arab League will participate in meetings given its weight and central role in supporting efforts for security and peace in the region,” Fatima al-Zahra said after a meeting of Arab member states of the UPM.

Israel has objected to the pan-Arab institution’s presence, saying the Arab League would oppose the Jewish state’s participation in the UPM.”

This entry was posted on Monday, October 27th, 2008 at 5:26 am and is filed under News.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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