At the fourth Convention of the Guardians of the Cedars Party in Beirut in the mid-1980s we issued several recommendations, among which the idea of creating a cultural, economic, and political alliance between all the peoples of the Mediterranean with Lebanon serving as its center. The name we coined for this alliance was the Mediterranean People Alliance, or M.P.A. for short. In 1995, this idea became reality when the first European-Mediterranean Convention (Euromed) was held in Barcelona, Spain, whose objective was to strengthen the cooperation, association, and communication between the countries that dot the periphery of the Mediterranean.
This week witnessed the sixth Euromed convention in the city of Naples in Italy that included, along with the European countries, the following countries: Lebanon, Syria, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, and Libya (as an observer).
Obviously, we were happy to see this convention take place, especially since the idea came out of Lebanon, and because the alliance of Lebanon with the Mediterranean countries is a historic and natural one. The reason being that the Mediterranean was for many centuries the playground of the Phoenicians and the gate for their culture to the world. "Lebanon's essential raison d'être is rooted in its openness to the sea, while its death lies in its openness to the desert…" as is elaborated in the texts of our ideology that were published in the mid-1970s, all ideas and principles that have been amply vindicated by subsequent and current events.
We were disappointed that the convention was not held in Beirut, rather than in Barcelona and Naples, and because Lebanon did not issue the call for the convention since it constitutes the geo-historical center of gravity of the Mediterranean countries.
We reject the participation of some non-Mediterranean countries, such as Jordan and the Palestinian Authority (the West Bank) that have no connection – physical or cultural – to the Mediterranean Sea. As to Syria, it is a desert country par excellence, and its presumed extension to the sea has no historic roots since the seacoast cities of Tartus, Lattaqieh and others are an extension of the Lebanese seacoast that harbored the city of Ugarit, famous for its rich Phoenician heritage.
Finally, we reject the frivolous discussion that went on between the Israeli and Lebanese delegates over Arab causes, Syria, and Palestine. We have no interest in these matters because Lebanon has no business wedging itself in the middle of the Israeli-Arab conflict. In contrast, Lebanon's interests are in creating a cultural, civilizational, and economic partnership with all the countries of the Mediterranean, for which Lebanon would be the pivotal player and the star champion in creating, organizing, and moving this partnership forward. We hold that such a partnership should be a substitute for Lebanon's membership in the Arab League, a membership that was a historic and unfortunate mistake that netted Lebanon nothing but catastrophes and disasters.
Lebanon, at your service,
December 06, 2003