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EU-Washington Forum 2014 – North Africa and the Middle East: common challenges

20 May 2014
Keynote speech by John McCain

Organised in collaboration with the Middle East Institute, the Washington Forum 2014 provided an opportunity for both formal and informal exchanges with Ambassadors of the EU’s Political and Security Committee/European External Action Service and distinguished counterparts from the US State Department on the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa. During sessions entitled ‘The Arab world: lost in transition?’ and ‘The wider Middle East: a theatre of competition?’, expert panellists addressed, inter alia, the following salient issues:

  • What are the future prospects for the ‘Arab Spring’ countries?
  • Is democracy still on the cards?
  • What can outsiders do to stabilise the transition processes?
  • The two-state-solution: mirage or reality?
  • Is Assad’s exit still a possibility?
  • Will the nuclear deal with Tehran fulfil its promises?

In addition to a conversation between EEAS Secretary General Pierre Vimont and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Anne Patterson, the audience was honoured with a keynote speech by Senator John McCain, who offered his thoughts on the enduring conflict in Syria.