Extraordinary regional meeting: Press Statement
the Countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, the Gulf Region and the Red Sea
Athens, 19-20 August 2006
An extraordinary meeting of the Communist and Workers’ Parties from countries of the south and eastern Mediterranean, the Red Sea and Gulf region with international attendance was held in Athens on the 19th and 20th of August 2006 hosted by the Communist Party of Greece with the participation of Progressive Democratic Tribune - Bahrain, Tudeh Party of Iran, Communist Party of Israel, Jordanian Communist Party, Lebanese Communist Party, Palestinian People's Party, Sudanese Communist Party, Syrian Communist Party. The meeting was also attended by the Communist Party of Cuba, AKEL-Cyprus, Unified Communist Party of Georgia, Portuguese Communist Party, Communist Party of Russian Federation, and Communist Party of Turkey while a series of other parties who could not be present expressed their support by sending messages.
The participants condemned the policy of USA and other imperialist powers which is based on exploitation, oppression, violation of fundamental democratic and civil rights. This policy is the real cause of the conflicts and instability in the region. The communists and other anti-imperialist forces stand in firm opposition to this, struggling against imperialist war and exploitation, for the rights of the working people, for peace, democracy and socialism.
The meeting arose from the need for briefing on the situation, the exchange of views and the taking of further measures in order to express solidarity with the peoples of Lebanon, Palestine and of other countries in the region who are struggling against the unjust and aggressive military operations of Israel and the attempts to implement the US-NATO plan for the “greater Middle East”. The participants noted and condemned the Israeli aggression in Lebanon on 19 of August and the violations of the Lebanese airspace, facts that prove that the 1701/2006 UN Security Council resolution encourages Israeli aggressiveness.
The representatives saluted the heroic resistance and struggle of the Lebanese people, as well as the heroic stance of the CP of Israel and other pro-peace progressive forces in that country; they saluted the resistance of the Lebanese Communist Party and its sacrifices in the frame of the Lebanese National Resistance. They also greeted the struggle of the Palestinian people and the contribution of the Palestinian Peoples’ party in it.
They saluted the massive worldwide movement of solidarity and protest, and underscored the international significance of the joint statement of 71 Communist and Workers’ Parties in solidarity with the suffering peoples of Palestine and Lebanon on the 20th of July 2006. The participants emphasised the responsibilities of the USA and other imperialist powers which by their stance have encouraged the murderous actions of the Israeli army. The fact that the Israeli government and its allies were not able to achieve their goals in this war shows the massive possibilities which the people’s resistance movement has, despite the negative balance of forces in the military field.
They denounced the stance of those forces who in the name of “even-handedness” effectively aided the aggression. Participants welcomed the anti-imperialist position of Syria. They underlined the responsibilities of those governments who did not condemn this and took no decisive measures to end the attacks as they are required to do under the international treaties and under international law. They noted that the USA and the leading imperialist powers are using the contemporary negative balance of forces in the UN to legitimise their interventions, to impose the right of might, and to promoted their plans and interests at the expense of the peoples.
The participants rejected, as all progressive people would, the argument of the invaders that they carried out the attacks exercising their alleged right to “self-defence”. It was noted that at this juncture the majority of casualties were civilians, that hospitals and homes had been hit as well as the thousands of illegal arrests of political prisoners amongst whom are found ministers and elected representatives of the Palestinian people. This attack, along with the unjust war against the people of Iraq and the threats of the USA and its allies against other peoples in the region such as the peoples of Iran and Syria, is aimed at crushing every popular resistance which justly struggles against foreign invasions and occupation forces and for the of inalienable right of the people to be the masters of their own fate, to defend the freedom, independence and territorial integrity of their country, as well as to seek social and political changes in their countries in the direction of socialism. It was underscored that for the consistent promotion of the anti-imperialist direction of the struggle there is the need for the popular, progressive and democratic political forces to win a dominant position. The meeting also recognized the need for the strengthening of the Communist and Workers’ Parties, so that they may lead broader fronts of resistance against imperialism, class exploitation and oppression. Only in this way the popular struggle can have a successful outcome at the national, regional and international level.
The participants of the meeting condemn all efforts made in order to delay the issue of a Security Council resolution. They expressed their disagreement with the provisions of the 1701/2006 UN Security Council resolution as it represents a US effort to give Israel what it could not achieve by its assault. It was also noted that it gives Israel the right to claim that it can act in “self-defense”. At the same time continues to intervene in the internal affairs of Lebanon on the question of disarmament, despite the fact that the Lebanese people, the political forces and the government of Lebanon consider that this issue concerns the internal national dialogue. The participants also rejected the wording which relates to the deployment of the international force and its mandate, especially by giving the right to achieve the goals set by Israel. They appeal on the countries to refrain from participating with troops under the given mandate.
They emphasize that the long process leading to this resolution r shows rather clearly the sharpening of the competition between the major imperialist powers for spheres of influence and dominance. Participants underlined the need to work actively for the creation of a united social and political front in the region with international support of other parties, movements and organizations, against the imperialist plan for the “Greater Middle East” and its alleged “democratization”. The communists stand at the forefront of the struggle for democracy and the promotion of the people’s interests, confronting attempts by political forces who may try to exploit the situation and portray themselves as supporters and “protectors” of the people, when in fact they are motivated by their own interests and their competition with the US.
The participants, under the light of the recent developments, expressed their concern about a further escalation of the Israeli aggressiveness against the Palestinians and other peoples of the region.
Faced with this situation the participants considered that the international movement of solidarity with the peoples of Lebanon and Palestine and indeed of the whole region must be further strengthened, as well as support for the struggle of the democratic and progressive forces of the region for democracy, freedom and social justice.
They emphasized the need to intensify the struggle to defend the national independence and territorial integrity of every country against every imperialist intervention under whatever pretext.
The participants demanded
- The immediate ceasefire and immediate withdrawal of all Israeli troops from the Lebanese territories, including the Sebaa farms and the release of the Lebanese prisoners. They also condemn the violation of the airspace, land and sea frontiers of Lebanon and demand the lifting of the blockade by air, land and sea by Israel on Lebanon.
- The withdrawal of the Israeli army from all Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian territories it has occupied since 1967, the complete dismantling of the settlements, the demolition of the Israeli wall as well as the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, alongside Israel. The solution of the issue of the refugees. The return of the Palestinian refugees based on the UN assembly resolution 194 and in line with the related UN Security Council resolutions.
- The immediate release by Israel of all Lebanese, Palestinian and other Arab political prisoners, and the immediate lifting of the siege and blockade of the Palestinian territories.
- The immediate release of the speaker of the Palestinian Parliament and all MPs and ministers that have been taken hostages by Israel
- A Middle East without nuclear weapons
The meeting approved a series of initiatives and joint actions including:
- Joint delegations of representatives of Communist and Workers’ Parties to Lebanon, Palestine and Israel.
- The coordination of our Parties in the European parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Invitation to take part in sessions of the European parliament representatives from the Communist and Workers’ Parties of the region, especially from Lebanon, Palestine and Israel.
- Organization of joint actions and mobilizations of the parties around mid-September. Utilization of mass events, festivals etc for the expression of solidarity
- Pressure on every government that does not condemn the Israeli assault
- Demand for reparation from Israel and condemnation of the responsible ones for war crimes using any legal or other available methods.
- Further promotion of solidarity and joint action also on the occasion of the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties to be hosted by the Portuguese CP in Lisbon on 10-12 of November 2006
- Encourage the cooperation of the youth organizations of our parties for the condemnation of imperialist interventions and wars through joint events, special activities etc. Organization of an international youth camp in South Lebanon and participation in the rebuilding effort.
- Support to the efforts to raise humanitarian aid in cooperation and coordination with the Lebanese Communist Party.
- Continuation of demonstrations, mobilizations and solidarity events
- Support the solidarity initiatives of mass organizations, movements, trade unions, youth organizations, against imperialist war in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel
- Support to the relevant international activities and initiatives of the mass movements and the international organizations such as WPC, WFDY, WFTU, WIDF etc.
Athens, 20 August 2006