Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean resigns
The Secretary General for the Union for the Mediterranean Ahmad Masa’deh decided to step down as in his words, “the general conditions against which he accepted to assume the job have changed”. This statement can be interpreted as his way of denouncing how the Israeli-Palestine conflict is practically paralysing the work of the UfM.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean Ahmad Masa\u2019deh resigned today. In a press release from Tuesday, the Jordan diplomat Dr. Masa\u2019deh justified his decision by saying that the \u201Cconditions against which he accepted to assume the job have changed\u201D. Dr. Masa\u2019deh \u201Cwished the process [UfM] all the success\u201D. However, it is not a secret that the Union for the Mediterranean is, its early stage, far away from having reached its initial objectives. The conflict between Israel and Palestine has been putting constant obstacles on the organisation and hindering the realisation of their first projects. Examples of this are the delay approving the Secretariat\u2019s statutes and the cancellation of summits and ministerial meetings. Dr. Masa\u2019deh states in the press release that he has \u201Caccomplished establishing the Secretariat, making it visible, and producing a high-level professional vision for its operation\u201D. Dr. Masa\u2019deh took office a year ago.
In the press release, Dr. Masa\u2019deh insists that he \u201Cwishes this process [the UfM] all the success\u201D. He \u201Cwill continue to be a strong supporter for a professionally sound and politically empowered Secretariat and a loud voice for cooperation in the Mediterranean that is based on true equilibrium and clear orientation, and that is capable of delivering concrete and tangible benefits to the people of the region\u201D.
Ahmad Khalaf Masa\u2019deh (Jordan, 1969) was appointed Secretary General of the UfM on the 12th of January 2010. Before that, he was the Jordan Ambassador to the European Union and the NATO. In an interview with CNA a few months ago he said \u201CI am not worried about the structure\u2019s size but about ensuring that UfM offers the idea we want to show\u201D. Masa\u2019deh\u2019s appointment came a year and a half after the supposed relaunch of the Euro-Mediterranean process announced and lead by the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, in July 2008. The UFM secretariat has its official seat and headquarters in Barcelona, at the Palau de Pedralbes.
A difficult year
The UfM work has been generally slow so far and without results. To be fair, it has not really been able to start working at speed, mainly because of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Political discussion on this never-ending conflict paralysed concrete projects on water sanitation and energy in the entire Maghreb region, among other project areas. For instance, the Euro-Mediterranean Summit has been twice postponed: once in June and the second time in November; this last time indefinitely.
Meanwhile only 20 staff members were based in the UfM Secretariat\u2019s headquarter offices in September. After months of silence, Dr. Masa\u2019deh held press contacts at the end of November and early December with several media, CNA included. At that time, Dr. Masa\u2019deh was already sending a warning \u201Cthe UfM cannot work without Member States\u2019 commitment\u201D. Then, Masa\u2019deh was waging to have the UfM focused on working on technical projects, leaving politics aside. But two months later, he is stepping down.