The United Nations Department of Public Information and the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs held the sixteenth annual International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East “Israeli-Palestinian Peace and the Role of the International Community” in Vienna, Austria on 2-3 December.
The media seminar was addressed by Austrian Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Johannes Kyrle, as well as by Palestinian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Almutawakel Taha and former Israeli Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Eli Dayan. Mr. Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, delivered the keynote address.
Mr. Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information of the United Nations, opened the session with a message from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna , made welcoming remarks.
Four panels discussed the role of the international community in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the new regional dimension involving the neighbouring countries in the Middle East peace process, prospects for the future of the peace process, Israeli-Palestinian civil society initiatives and the initiatives of other international actors.
Panellists included: Ambassador Ralph Scheide, Director for the Middle East in the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of Austria; and Ms. Shaazka Beyerle of the International Center on Non-Violent Conflict in Washington , D.C.
Among the 150 participants were journalists from more than 12 countries, both from the Middle East and worldwide.
The media seminar is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly and has been held annually since 1991. In the last five years, it has been held in Seville , Beijing , Cairo , Moscow and Tokyo .