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UfM: Projectes will be first step, Masadeh says

31 janvier 2010

 »I envisage going to Barcelona at the end of February » – explained the first secretary general of the Mediterranean Union, Jordanian Ahmad Masadeh, in an interview with ANSAmed – ‘‘to then start activities at the beginning of March. All this depends on whether the statute of the secretariat is adopted by the meeting of high-level officials of the Mediterranean Union scheduled to take place in Brussels on February 9 ».

The number of vice secretaries is still up in the air, with it oscillating between five and six (Italy, Malta, Israel, PNA, Greece and Turkey) and the portfolios to be assigned to them.  »I already know – said Masadehthat amongst the vice secretaries, the senior one will be an Italian, who will deal with the financing of the projects and with small and medium-sized enterprises. It was communicated to me by the Foreign Minister Franco Frattini in his letter of congratulations ». In Masadeh‘s framework, every vice secretary will be a head of a department, made up of experts recommended by the countries and selected by Masadeh himself on the basis of expertise, geographical origin and gender equality.  »We must create a professional and well-run organisation – he stated – and the people who work in it will be the very best in their field ».

For Masadeh, the secretariat is the central organ of the Union for the Mediterranean, which must hit targets, put together projects, financing and the political willingness of the countries. A priority in the secretary’s agenda is to promote the Union and involve all the actors possible, such as companies, media, the private sector, banks.  »I want to communicate what we are doing and what we want from them: it must be a two-way street. At the beginning we will work at the same time on various fronts », he added,  »but the crucial event for us will be the summit in Barcelona in June, which we will be prepared in close collaboration with the Spanish government and the French and Egyptian co-presidencies ».

 »I will start to deal with projects », explained Masadeh,  »from day one: we have a list that has already been approved and perhaps we will receive other projects ». The idea is to present some of them in their initial stages at the summit in June. In the long term, the challenge is even greater.  »As the first secretary general – said Masadehmy main objective is to make the Mediterranean Union operational and to contribute to the achievement of its aims: to create trust, increase political commitment, resolve disputes in the field of the Mediterranean Union, to create more economic undertakings and interests between the Member States and more cohesion at social and cultural level« .

Meanwhile, he underlines that the principal mandate of the secretariat is the one regarding the projects, to create links between governments and populations. From this we will then move forward to creating greater commitment at political level. Masadeh is keen to clarify that a great deal has been done in the field of the Barcelona Process: « we will construct on the basis of this« .

But given the difficulties in bringing together Arabs and Israelis, especially after Operation ‘Cast Lead’, is there some risk that the summit in June could be cancelled?  »I’m an optimist. There is a positive climate and everyone wants to move the process forward ».


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