Alicante Summit of religious leaders for peace in the Middle East

On Monday, 14 and Tuesday, 15 November, the Summit of religious leaders for peace in the Middle East will be held at Casa Mediterráneo in Alicante, at which, for the first time, the very highest religious leaders of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths from Israel and Palestine will meet up to discuss supporting peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. This summit will publicly bring together religious leaders who have not met up before but who are key persons in their own communities for achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

This meeting seeks to be a call for tolerance, peaceful co-existence and reconciliation in order to avoid religion becoming a source of conflict, to prevent violence, the incitation of hatred, radicalisation and extremism. Through this unprecedented initiative, the Government of Spain, with the support of the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations, seeks to foster the positive role that religious leaders can play in building peace in the Middle East.

On 16 November, after the summit has ended, the participating religious leaders will travel to Madrid, where they will be received at a closing event at Viana Palace by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Alfonso Dastis, with the aim of directly receiving the impressions of the participants on the results of the meetings held in Alicante.

The leading rabbis of the main Jewish schools and leaders of Jewish centres of religious study and interreligious dialogue in Israel; well-studied mullahs of Islam and of Islamic Law, imams from the leading mosques, promoters of interreligious dialogue and other Muslim religious officials from Jerusalem and Palestine, and leading officials from the Christian churches in Jerusalem – Latin Rite Catholics, Melkite Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Lutheran (see list attached) have all confirmed their participation at this summit.

The religious aspects and those issues related to the holy sites for the three religions in Jerusalem are tied in to the identities of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish peoples in the Middle East and are among the most sensitive issues in the peace process. The holding of a meeting at this time is particularly important since the peace process between Israel and Palestine has been paralysed and there is a lack of constructive dialogue between the parties.

Spain has continuously expressed its commitment to the Middle East Peace Process, of which the 1991 Madrid Conference remains a key milestone. Furthermore, the promotion of intercultural and interreligious dialogue as a tool for the prevention and resolution of conflicts is another of the priorities of Spain’s foreign policy. That is why Spain is a co-sponsor of the Alliance of Civilisations and a founding member of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID). In terms of the United Nations, Spain has supported the creation of a team of expert mediators on intercultural and interreligious affairs who can help in attempts at mediation, the inclusion of experts on intercultural and interreligious issues in peacekeeping operations and the inclusion of interreligious dialogue on the agenda of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission. On another note, through the Union for the Mediterranean, Spain organised a conference of organisations and institutions at a Euro-Mediterranean level in Barcelona on 22 and 23 July 2015, to work on questions of intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

Spain offered to host this summit in Alicante at the United Nations Security Council debate on the situation in the Middle East during the Spanish Presidency of the UNSC in October 2015. This offer was repeated during the Conference on Preventive Diplomacy in the Mediterranean held back May, which was also held in Alicante.

Spain’s role at this summit is as the host and facilitator of meetings between religious leaders, which will began on the afternoon of Monday, 14 November. On 15 November, at 11 am, a public meeting will be held in Casa Mediterráneo inaugurated by the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ignacio Ybáñez, and the High Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Alliance of Civilisations, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (see programme attached).


Attached documents:



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