The Multilateral Negotiations


The multilateral peace process was born at the Madrid Conference in October 1991, as a parallel track to the bilateral negotiations. While the bilateral track is meant to solve the conflicts of the past, the multilateral track focuses on the future shape of the Middle East, addressing problems on a regional level in a variety of areas which transcend boundaries, so as to promote long-term regional development and security.

The goal of the multilateral framework is twofold -- to find solutions for key regional problems, while serving as a confidence building measure (CBM) to promote the development of normalized relations among the nations of the Middle East. Issues of regional concern are discussed in a forum which can foster cooperation and build confidence between the parties. Shared infrastructure such as highways and water pipelines, shared development bringing about growth in tourism and trade, and cooperation in preserving the quality of natural resources and environment are among the realities envisioned for the region. Open borders and economic partnership will bring about prosperity, which will, in turn, produce a peace that constitutes more than merely an end to war.

The multilateral negotiations commenced on January 28-29, 1992, at the Moscow Multilateral Middle-East Conference. Opening presentations were made by the co-sponsors and the participants -- thirty-six parties in all -- with former Foreign Minister David Levy representing Israel.

The Steering Committee, comprised of representatives of the key delegations, coordinates the multilateral talks and sets dates and venues for the various working groups. The committee hears reports of the working groups, confirms their decisions and sets priorities for the allocation of resources. The Steering Committee also discusses such broader issues as the overall vision of the future of the Middle East, integrating the work of the individual working groups.

The five working groups deal with different areas of common regional concern:

Formal talks in the multilateral track, frozen for several years, resumed on January 31, 2000, with a meeting of the Steering Committee in Moscow, to be followed in the coming months by meetings of the working groups. 

 

Inaugurated at the
MOSCOW CONFERENCE
January 1992

 
Steering Committee
Working Groups
Water Refugees Environment Regional Economic Development Arms Control & Regional Security
Key Projects
  • Desalination research & technology center in Muscat

  • Wastewater treatment facilities at several Mideast sites

  • Regional training program for water personnel

  • Enhancement of water data availability
  • Human Resources: training courses for refugees

  • Child Welfare: programs to assist refugee children

  • Social & Economic Infrastructure: rehabilitation and housing for refugees

  • Public Health: regional laboratory for refugee medical case
  • Gulf of Aqaba/Eilat: regional oil spill emergency centers

  • Environment management: workshops, databanks, studies

  • Desertification: projects to address natural resource degradation

  • Bahrain Code of Conduct for the Middle East
  • Aqaba-Eilat- Sinai highway

  • Hydroelectric project study of Dead Sea-Red Sea and Dead Sea - Mediterranean canals

  • Linking regional electricity grids

  • Regional veterinary services

  • Middle East- Mediterranean Travel & Tourism Association (MEMTTA)
  • Crisis Prevention Center

  • Regional Security Center

  • Arms Control data bank

  • Naval exercise and conference of regional naval officers



  • Dates of Multilateral Meetings
    Steering Committee Chair: Meetings:

    US, Russia Moscow
    Lisbon
    London
    Moscow
    Tokyo
    Tabarka
    Moscow
    Jan'92
    May '92
    Dec '92
    Jul '93
    Dec '93
    Jul '94
    Jan 2000
    Working Groups
    Water Gavelholder: Meetings:

    US Vienna
    Washington
    Geneva
    Beijing
    Muscat
    Athens
    Amman
    May '92
    Sep '92
    May '93
    Oct '93
    Apr '94
    Nov '94
    Jun '95
    Refugees Gavelholder: Meetings:

    Canada Ottawa
    Ottawa
    Oslo
    Tunis
    Cairo
    Turkey
    May '92
    Nov '92
    May '93
    Oct '93
    May '94
    Dec '94
    Environment Gavelholder: Meetings:

    Japan Tokyo
    The Hague
    Tokyo
    Cairo
    The Hague
    Bahrain
    Amman
    May '92
    Oct '92
    May '93
    Nov '93
    Apr '94
    Oct '94
    Jun '95
    Regional Economic Development Gavelholder: Meetings:

    EU Brussels
    Paris
    Rome
    Copenhagen Rabat
    Bonn
    May '92
    Oct '92
    May '93
    Nov '93
    Jun '94
    Jan '95
    Arms Control & Regional Security Gavelholder: Meetings:

    US, Russia Washington
    Moscow
    Washington
    Moscow
    Doha
    Tunis
    May '92
    Sep '92
    May '93
    Dec '93
    Apr '94
    Dec' 94



    Participants in Multilateral Talks
    Co- sponsors Regional Participants Arab States Participating States Others
    United States
    Russia
    Israel
    Jordan
    Palestinians
    Egypt
    SaudiArabia
    UAE
    Oman
    Kuwait
    Bahrain
    Mauritania
    Qatar
    Yemen
    Morocco
    Algeria
    Tunisia
    Japan
    Italy
    France
    Germany
    Ireland
    Great Britain
    Canada
    Australia
    Belgium
    Netherlands
    Luxemburg
    Finland
    Sweden
    Norway
    Denmark
    India
    China
    Greece
    Turkey
    Spain
    Portugal
    Switzerland
    Austria
    Hungary
    Romania
    Rep.of Korea
    U.N./UNDP
    World Bank
    EU


    Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry