On the occasion of the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991,and with the goal of revitalizing a regional approach to peace in the Middle East, the Toledo International Centre for Peace (CITpax), Search for Common Ground, Fundación Tres Culturas del Mediterráneo, FAFO, and International Crisis Group, organized the conference “Madrid: Fifteen Years Later. Towards Peace in the Middle East: Addressing Concerns and Expectations” in January 2007.
The discussions demonstrated that the gaps between the parties were in fact bridgeable and that much could be pursued through efforts such as the Clinton Peace Parameters, the Roadmap and especially the Arab League Peace Initiative of 2002. It was also highlighted that public opinion supports negotiated solutions, and therefore the lack of political will was a major obstacle to moving forward. “Madrid: 15 years later” was also a platform for civil society to deliver a consistent message to leaders and officials to move towards a comprehensive regional agreement.
The presence of senior participants from all major parties, including Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab League, the UN, the EU and the USA demonstrated the strong interest in and viability of this approach.