OVER 120 members of Liberal parties from 150 different countries will be attending the 175th Liberal International Executive Committee in Palma this weekend. The executive committee meets twice a year and this weekend's event, which will be attended by high-ranking Liberal party officials and representatives, is being hosted by the UM, the Majorcan Union party, which is one of Spain's two affiliates of Liberal International. Leader of the Majorcan Union party, Council of Majorca president Maria Antonia Munar, will be giving the opening address at tomorrow night's welcome dinner. Liberal International was founded in 1974 and has members from Europe, including Gibraltar, to Africa, the Americas and Asia.
Liberal International secretary general Jasper Veen told the Bulletin yesterday that the main topic of discussion this weekend is the Barcelona Process (see below). Free trade and development is one of the three key areas of concern for Liberal International and Veen said that the Liberals believe the Barcelona Process, which was started ten years ago, is not moving forward fast enough. In Palma, we will be looking to speed up the process as the first set of deadlines for the new Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area are looming, he explained. Keynote addresses are going to be given by Ms Jaatteenmaki MEP, the former Prime Minister of Finland who is the European Parliament's rapporteur on the Barcelona Process and Mr Alistair Crook, former security advisor to the European Union's Middle East Envoy. Chairing much of the convention will be Lord Alderdice, president of Liberal International and member of the International Monitoring Committee for decomissioning in N. Ireland.v Other speakers include Dr Tayseer Adbel Jaber, Chairman of the Jordan Development Centre and former minister, Senator Carles Gasoliba, President of the European League for Economic Co-operation Mediterranean Commission and Mr Fadi Yarak, Director of the Rene Moawad Foundation in Lebanon. The head of international public relations for the Palestinian Intelligence Service, Walid Abu Ali will be taking part in a working session on Foreign Policy and Security, along with Crook, and the former Israeli Interior Minister Avraham Porzak MK will also be addressing a meeting on Israel and Palestine. There will also be sessions on Human Rights and Economy and Financial Chapter.
Graham Watson, the leader of the Liberal and Democrat alliance in the European Parliament and, A. Neyts-Uyttebroack, the president of the European Liberal Party, will also be attending as will the spokesperson for the parliamentary group of the German Liberal Democrat Party, W. Gerhardt. The convention opens tomorrow night and draws to a close on Sunday.
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