G20 and M20
By Uri Savir
President of the Peres Center for Peace
The G20 Conference, held in London in April 2009 was a milestone the history of international relations. Not only did it change some economic doctrines towards capitalism with much greater government involvement, but it also created a change in the relations between the important powers in the world. In the inter-Atlantic relations, it became clear that there is a much greater inter-dependence than was in the past between the United States and Europe as well as with other countries like Russia, India, China, Brazil etc. In other words, a multi-polar world in which the U.S is still leading, but its future well being is inter-dependent with other countries' policies with regard to the global economic crisis. Gordon Brown defined it well when he said: "Global problems require global solutions".
A similar phenomenon is reflected also at the Strasbourg NATO Conference and in Baden-Baden, as the inter-dependence is also relevant regarding security policies. The United States called upon its allies to cooperate in formulating a policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as in dealing with Iran, North Korea and other fundamentalists.
The inter-dependence between the United States and Europe, the United States and Japan, China and Russia, has an important impact on the Middle East as well. Israel can no longer depend only on the United States. No longer can we spurn the rest of the world as our new foreign minister does. We must prepare for the demands of the United States and its allies to us and to other countries in our region. The Arab world as well can no longer ignore these coalitions, requiring from them to remain open to peace and to become more democratic states.
Therefore I suggest our new Israeli government to initiate a new framework of cooperation with our neighbors. We must understand that the new multi-lateralism in international relations can bring a system of inter-dependence between the nations of the Middle East region, some kind of Mid-East 20—M20.
This vision can come about in the following way:
# Gathering a regional conference with the participation of powerful countries, in order to prepare a bi-lateral and multi-lateral negotiation process. The multi-lateral negotiations will be based on the principles from the Madrid conference and the Saudi Initiative (without adopting it).
# Formulating a regional vision with our close neighbors.
# Beginning the negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas regarding all issues of the permanent status arrangement.
# Examining the negotiation options between Israel and Syria through the United States, based on former Prime Minister Ehud Barak's formula - "Depth of the withdrawal will be equal to the depth of peace and security".
# Formulating our security necessities facing our neighbors and other countries in the region.
# Establishment of working teams in charge of formulating programs regarding the regional socio-economic development.
# Israeli coordination with the United States regarding all the steps mentioned above.
If the Israeli government succeeds in taking such an initiative, it will adjust itself to the new global multi-lateral reality of our days. It is preferable rather then a situation in which it will be forced upon us by an American - European coalition.
April, 21, 2009
Ambassador Uri Savir was Israel's Chief Negotiator of the Oslo Accords and is today the President of the Peres Center for Peace.