15/05/2008 | 16:58 Lone Star Communications
For Immediate Release 15 May 2008
Why Hasn’t the “New Middle East" Arrived Yet?
Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Former Prime Minister of France: "France will force Iran into a corner if it will not give up its nuclear ambitions"
Major General (Res.) Aharon Zeevi-Farkash, Former Head of Israeli Military Intelligence: "The collapse of the current Lebanese government will bring Iran upon our doorstep."
(JERUSALEM)- Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Former Prime Minister of France, declared that France will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power. Raffarin made these claims in a panel discussion on the state of the Middle East, on the second day of the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem. He further said that France will force Iran into a corner until it gives up its ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons. Raffarin expressed concern regarding the lack of stability in the area such as in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He said that France has a responsibility towards the "New Middle East" which should include political stability and real peace. According to him this can be accomplished through the creation of two states for two nations.
Major General (Res.) Aharon Zeevi-Farkash, Former Head of Israeli Military Intelligence, cautioned against the rise of Radical Islam in the Arab world. He regards this as a product of a dearth of leadership amongst the rulers, high unemployment, poverty, backwards economies, low levels of integration with the global community, and lagging technologies amongst the Arab states. Additionally, he remarked that a US withdrawal from Iraq would be regarded as a failure and would strengthen radical forces in the area. Zeevi-Farkash warned that the collapse of the current Lebanese government will bring Iran upon our doorstep and that the US has a responsibility to aid the governments in Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq to develop their economies and their education systems. This is all to avoid the strengthening of radical streams within those states.
Dr. Dore Gold, Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN and a member of the team negotiating with the Palestinians, spoke of the anticipation that the negotiations with the Palestinians during the 1990's would bring a "New Middle East" but unfortunately this has not occurred. This was caused by political and policy changes that have occurred in the area such as the change in leadership in the Palestinian Authority and in Syria and the rise of radical forces such as Hamas in the Palestinian Authority. In parallel, Iran is rising in power in the area and the world shares a responsibility to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power in order to keep the possibility of a regional agreement open for the Middle East.
Facing Tomorrow, the first annual conference of Shimon Peres' presidency will take place in Jerusalem May 13-15marking Israel's milestone 60th anniversary, at the International Convention Center.
World leaders, thinkers and doers, artists and scientists, rabbis and entrepreneurs including the next generation of leadership will contribute to the conference's work.
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(Lone Star Communications), Tel: +972-54-4766393 _