Middle East Peace Process From Defense Point of View

8-13 May 1993, Istanbul, Hotel Dedeman

Since, for political reasons most of the participants of the group coyld not meet in another Middle East country, this meeting was held in the Istanbul Dedeman Hotel May 8-13, 1993, with the support of the Dedeman family and with the organization of the Security Working Group of the Search for Common Ground, Washington, D.C. In addition to the participants from Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Syria, representatives of important civil organizations in the USA participated in the conference. This discussion topics were as follows:

The possible scenaios to reach and maintain a peaceful settlement in the Middle East, necessary security measures to realize peace, and possible regional defense strategies to be established to maintain it. In addition to the necessity of creating a disarmed region on the border, the amelioration of the situation of Palestinian immigrants in Jordan, the regulation of distribution of clean water resources jointly used by the two counties and the relationship between Jordan and Iraq after the Gulf War were the leading issues of the security measures between Jordan and Israel. The debates on the Israeli-Syrian security issues focused on the complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories of Syria.

The Turks emphasized the issues of terrorism; the water problem in the Middle East; Turkey’s relationships with Iraq, Syria and Iran; and the promotion of a regional defense guarantee. They underlined the necessity to remove negative prejudices held by the people and administrators of the region towards others, to develop economic cooperation and to accelerate regional cooperation initiatives rather than continue to pursue old conflicts. they emphasized the view that regional peace can be sustained through the cooperation of the countries in the Balkan, Central Asian and Middle East regions.

Finally, the roles of the United States of America and Russia roles in the peace process were discussed. The impact of the sales of arms and military spare goods - to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia by the USA and to Syria, Iraq and Iran by Russia - on the regional balance was emphasized. At the end of the meeting, the participants decided to present specific suggestions to the authorities of their countries.