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Seminar for Israeli and Palestinian Mayors Contributing to Peace Kicks off in Milan

Global Times

via Global Times (click here for link to original)

The "Israeli and Palestinian Mayors for Peace" seminar kicked off in Milan on Wednesday, focusing on the role of mayors in advancing the Middle East peace process.

The four-day event, attended by 14 mayors and institutional representatives from Israel and Palestine, aims at reinforcing the political dialogue between the two parts through exploring possible synergies between municipalities.

"Hosting this delegation of Israeli and Palestine mayors in Milan is a reason to have great hope for the peace process. We all know the length and difficulty of this objective, but we also share a strong will to achieve it," said Milan's Mayor Letizia Moratti at the seminar presentation.

"Cities are home of the competences, strategies, energies and citizens who are the real protagonists of the peace process, therefore we consider them the best interlocutors to deal with," she stressed, adding that Milan will offer its best contribution to this exchanges.

Organized by the Italian Center for Peace in the Middle East ( CIPMO) and sponsored by the Mediterranean country's highest authorities, the seminar takes place in the framework of the Geneva Initiative, also known as Geneva Accord, a model permanent- status agreement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict announced in 2003 in Switzerland.

"Problems can be solved only through an intense dialogue at all levels, and this is the reason why we are here," the mayor of the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour, Hani Hayek, told Xinhua on the margins of the presentation.

"Italy has already been working many years for the Israeli- Palestinian peace, but it can play a bigger role as it has good relations with Israeli side and therefore has the power to influence the country's politics in Palestine," he added.