Cordoba Hosts Middle East Peace Conference
The Second European Conference of Local Authorities for Peace in the Middle East brings together over 200 mayors and city councilmen from Israel , Palestine and the EU to promote "People's Diplomacy" in Cordoba, City of Three Cultures.
You hardly notice that Cordoba is on the international diplomatic scene these days. When something big happens, Cordoba makes it small, in its own modest way.
Downtown was particularly quiet this morning, before office coffee hours. But under relaxed, life-as-usual appearances here in provincial Andalusia, there was a lot happening. Local authorities from Palestine, Israel and other parts of the European Union were working together for Peace in the Middle East .
It wasn't a kilometer away, but I read found out about it first in the foreign press.
Luisa Morgantini, President of the Development Commission in the EU Parliament, said to Diario Cordoba: "This is another type of diplomacy, people's diplomacy; the possibility for people at the city level to confront this tragedy... We're here not only for dialogue, but for cooperation..."
In his opening address, Pedro Moya from the Andalusian Autonomous Community's Foreign Initiatives Office, stated that "anything that would create opportunities for communication and dialogue between different cultures will be decisive in achieving peace in the Middle East ... Peace is only lasting when people feel they have a been involved in it."
Rosa Aguilar, Mayor of Cordoba, reminded participants that Cordoba "was a model of harmonious living among cultures," and hoped it would serve as inspiration for real cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.
The following day, Miguel Angel Moratinos, who was the EU's envoy to the Middle East for 7 years and is now Spain 's foreign minister, called for elections to be held as scheduled, and for new local authorities to work towards peace: "Peace is the region is possible. It's not a Utopia if all of us become personally and politically committed to this cause."
In his opening speech he said, "In Cordoba, land of peace, of respect for different cultures, religions and ethnic groups, where Arabs, Jews and Christians lived in peace, you may find inspiration for debating and proposing ideas that help to end this conflict."
Conference Web site: 2nd European Conference of Local Authorities on the Middle East Peace Process