Intervention of Stefanos Stefanou, member of the Secretariat and Political Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL, at the meeting on “The Palestinian issue, the Mediterranean and the Middle East”
“AVANTE” PCP Festival, 5-7th September 2014, Lisbon, Portugal
First of all, we would like to express our gratitude for the invitation extended by the Portuguese Communist Party to participate in this seminar. On this opportunity I would like to wish every success to the “AVANTE” Festival. Starting my speech, permit me express our full and unreserved solidarity with the Palestinian people who are struggling against the occupation and colonization, against the seizure of the natural resources of Palestine, against the day-to-day policy imposing misery on the Palestinian people and against the murderous attacks such as the recent Israeli operation conducted in Gaza.
Today’s seminar is taking place in the aftermath of the NATO Summit held in Wales, where decisions are expected to be approved that will escalate the aggression and strengthen the Alliance’s war machine, as well as its presence in Eastern Europe. At the same time greater significance will be attached to the NATO partnership programs with other countries, within the context of its global activity, as reflected in the New Strategic Concept of NATO for the coming decade. These decisions reflect the intensification of the global inter-imperialist rivalries which pose huge threats to world peace and security.
The Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East are the targets of the storm of competition between the giant energy monopoly conglomerates of the world. This region is precious for the international capitalist centres of power. The main objectives of these centres are: (1) to safeguard the flow of materials, energy and products from the area, (2) to ensure their access to the energy sources and to the new and vast gas fields of the Eastern Mediterranean and (3) the “modernization” of the ruling bourgeois regimes in the region (with the overthrow of governments where necessary) so as to form the basis for the activity of these monopoly groups.
These objectives are part of the American-engineered plan for the redrawing of the borders for the imposition of a “New Middle East” which is seeking either the perpetuation or the settlement of various problems in a way that will defend and safeguard the interests and the presence of the United States and its close allies in the region.
The Eastern Mediterranean is subject to a dangerous militarization. NATO is amassing huge forces in the region, whilst two NATO military and political cooperation programmes are focusing on this region. We are referring to the “Mediterranean Dialogue” and “Istanbul Cooperation Initiative”. The European Union is also moving in this direction which is continuously deepening its coupling and joining together with NATO. Through the so-called Maritime Dimension of Common Security and Defence Policy, the EU is promoting – in the name of “energy security” – the militarization of the Mediterranean. All these developments are being supported and developing in order to maintain their military superiority against their emerging competitors such as Russia and China.
It is well-known that the mighty of the world do not hesitate in exploiting existing problems, to ferment the overthrow of governments, to utilise Islamist extremism and of course to maintain very strong military and political ties with the regimes that cooperate with them. The so-called “transition to democracy”, “Sadam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction”, “war on terrorism”, “Iran’s nuclear programme”, “Assad’s use of chemical weapons,” but also the current murderous march of the “Islamic State” in Iraq are the Western capitalist countries pretexts in their attempts to legitimize their interventions in the region. No special effort is required to reveal the dishonesty of the USA and its allies as reflected in the “double standards” policies they are pursuing.
The results of these policies demonstrate that where the USA and its allies have intervened they have not solved the problems with regards democracy, human rights violations and civil conflicts. On the contrary, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria are all plunged deep in chaos and bloodshed, whilst the monster of Islamic extremism does not hesitate to also bite the American hand too that was feeding and supporting it for years.
Our types of Parties do not limit themselves to a theoretical analysis of imperialism and the denunciation of the American and NATO plans. Our duty is to forge joint action between us, enhance the militant mobilization of our peoples against imperialism, exert pressure on the governments of our countries with regards foreign policy issues, intensify our contribution towards the revitalization of the world peace movement and assert the solution of problems in the region of the Middle East in a collective way by the international community on the basis of International Law and the resolutions of the United Nations.
We believe that enormous scope for joint action exists, particularly on the issue of solidarity with the people of Palestine to tackle the aggression of Israel, but also for a solution of the Palestinian problem based on the UN resolutions. We support the creation of an independent, viable and sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, alongside Israel.
We believe there enormous scope also exists for promoting the goal for the declaration of the Middle East as a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. This would make a huge contribution to peace and security in our neighbourhood, while it would simultaneously retrain and curb the Israeli military hegemony upon which its intransigence in the peace process with the Palestinians is founded on.
The Cyprus problem is also a problem for the region. This year 40 years have passed since the double crime committed by NATO against Cyprus which led to the occupation of 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey and to the de facto partition of our island and people. For 40 years negotiations have being taking place to find a solution that will lead to the end of the occupation and the reunification of Cyprus. These efforts come up against the intransigent stand of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership who are persisting on partitionist positions, since they are seeking the establishment of two separate states on the island.
The fair under the circumstances viable solution to the Cyprus problem is set out in a series of UN resolutions. These resolutions provide for the termination of the occupation and the reunification of our country and people within the framework a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, where human rights and basic freedoms will be implemented. It is important for peace in our country and the region that the Cypriot state can operate as a factor of peace and normality which is why the united federal state must be demilitarized.
The solution of the Cyprus problem in such a way will contribute towards the promotion of peace and in this sense our struggle for a solution of the Cyprus problem also represents a struggle for peace to prevail against imperialist interventions in the region
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
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