By Lois Jones
THE political and social turmoil of the Mediterranean will form the core of discussions at the fifth Formentor Forum, to be held on Majorca tomorrow and Saturday. José María Aznar, the Spanish prime minister, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister of Turkey will be amongst the leading political figures taking part in the debate. The forum's director, diplomat Raimundo Bassols, officially announced the meeting, which will take place at a hotel in Formentor, in the north-easterly tip of Majorca. He was accompanied by José Luis Díaz, director of the Repsol YPF Foundation, the promoter of this summit for political reflection and debate. “Mediterranean Rifts: Healing dialogue” is the title given to the theme underpinning this year's Formentor Forum.
Discussion will be based, explained Bassols, on current affairs issues that will touch on the situation in the Mediterranean after the Iraq war, the Middle East peace process, the region's agricultural policies and inter-cultural relations between peoples of different religious backgrounds. The meeting will start off at 4pm tomorrow with contributions by Premier Aznar; Spain's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ana Palacio; Alfonso Cortino, the president of Repsol (the petroleum company); and the leader of the Balearic government, Jaume Matas. A round table discussion will follow entitled “The effects of the War in Iraq on the Mediterranean region”. Participants will be Ana Palacio; the ex-French foreign affairs minister, Hubert Védrine; and the secretary general of the Arab Maghrib Union, the Tunisian Habib Boulares. Erdogan, who Bassols introduced as governing a country aspiring to become a member of the European Union, member of NATO and neighbour of Iraq, will give a lecture at about 7pm. A dinner will follow presided over by the head of the Spanish government, who will give a speech.
On Saturday, the day will open with a session on the Middle East Peace Process, a theme also tackled at the four previous forums.
The debate will be chaired by Miguel Angel Moratinos, a former special European Union envoy in the region.
Expected to attend the same meeting, which will differ from the others in that there will be no follow-up debate, are a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Sa'eb Erakat and minister for the Integration of Israeli Immigrants, Tzipi Livni. Later there will be a round table discussion on the agrarian policies of the Mediterranean region which will be chaired by the ex Portuguese prime minister, Antonio Guterres. Taking part will be the ex Italian Agriculture minister, Paolo de Castro; the ex secretary general of the Vale of Jordan Authority, Dureid Mahasneh; and the minister of State for the Turkish economy, Ali Babacan. Following a break, a round table session entitled “Religion, Culture and Xenophobia” will take place, presided over by the German minister of the Interior, Otto Schily. At this meeting contributions will also be made by the ex Israeli president, Isaac Navon; the head of the Grand Mosque in Paris, Dalil Boubakeur; and the Italian political scientist, Giovanni Sartori. The fifth Formentor Forum will conclude during the afternoon of 18 October with a contribution from Alfonso Cortina.
Bassols highlighted a novel aspect to the end of the Formentor's 2003 Forum: a short concert for attendees following the Saturday dinner given by the Israeli singer Noa and the Palistinian singer Mira Awad.


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