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Westphalia for the Middle East Berlin Workshop

last modified May 07, 2017 09:06 PM

The Forum on Geopolitics, in collaboration with the Körber Foundation, held the third workshop of the second phase of its joint project, ‘A Westphalia for the Middle East’, in Berlin on 27-28 April 2017. The project seeks to draw inspiration from the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years War in 1648, in order to determine new approaches towards conflict-resolution and confessional co-existence in the contemporary Middle East; not by imposing an external model, but rather by trying to encourage a settlement reached by local actors with the help of a toolbox of mechanisms and techniques that proved so effective in addressing analogous geopolitical challenges in the historical experience of the 1640s. Following the previous meetings, in which we elaborated on the elements and nature of a hoped-for regional settlement for the Middle East, the latest workshop was dedicated to discussing the international dimensions to such a settlement. In particular, we assessed the merits of a possible system of regional and international guarantees of the settlement, modelled loosely on the Westphalian guarantor system which contributed significantly to the successful conclusion of a comprehensive peace treaty in 1648, as well as to the long-term safeguarding of the peace. The workshop was attended by over twenty high-profile participants from the Middle East, Europe, the United States, and Russia. Represented among them were politicians, academics, journalists, and senior figures from the UN, the Arab League, the EU, and various NGOs. A full report on the event will be forthcoming in the next two weeks.