Cairo, January 17th 2017
XI High Level Meeting organised by the Nizami Ganjavi International Center (NGIC) together with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) was held in Cairo under the theme of “Democratic Security in a Time of Extremism and Violence”.
Participants of the meeting were George Ivanov, President of Macedonia; together with former Presidents Boris Tadic (Serbia), Valdis Zatlers (Latvia), Petar Stoyanov (Bulgaria), Ivo Josipovic (Croatia), Rexhep Meidani (Albania), Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Emil Constantinescu (Romania), Rosalia Arteago (Ecuador), Amine Gemayel (Lebanon), Petru Lucinschi (Moldova), Viktor Yushchenko (Ukraine) and Prime Ministers, Taher Masri (Jordan), Zlatko Lagumdzija (Bosnia and Herzegovina) as well as Political Leaders, Global Thinkers and Ambassadors from around the world such as Amre Moussa, Eka Tekalashvili, Abdulaziz Altwaijri, Farida Allaghi.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with the Macedonian President and the high level group at Al-Ittihadiya Presidential Palace before the conference and stressed the importance of collaboration between the international community to combat the terrorism that targets civilians worldwide without discrimination. He added that a strategic plan should be made that is not limited to security or military actions. He also underlined the importance of the role of religious discourse in promoting the principles of co-existence.
The conference sought to explore the challenges posed by the rising problem of terrorism, not only the military and security challenges, but also the fundamental set of cultural challenges that it raises. It sought to identify general recommendations for finding the right balance between confronting violent extremism and ensuring security in a democratic society.
In his closing address Dr. Serageldin said: “…one of the most important questions of our time is how societies that have had a long tradition of democratic rule, or those who aspire to build a strong democratic system have to find a balance between providing the security they owe their citizens and the rights and liberties that they must protect for those same citizens”; and further posed the ultimate questions: “Where does the right balance lie? Does it differ from country to country?
He emphasized the importance of “defeating terrorism through cultural confrontation, defeating extremist ideas with ideas of openness and pluralism, marginalizing the extremists and destroying their appeal to alienated youth”. Adding: “We know that a military and security response to Terrorism is warranted and needed. But beyond that is the battle of ideas, which requires dialogue and openness on all of society to change the dominant political, religious and media discourse. Military solutions alone will not be enough.”