Amre Moussa: 'We believe terrorism bears no nationality or religion'

From a speech by the secretary general of the League of Arab States, given at the Euro-Med Networks conference at Chatham House, London

It is important to note that there have been changes since 1995 except for one thing: the Arab-Israeli conflict continues to haunt the scene because biased policies have pushed the conflict into a dead end. Other than that, we have new agenda items like Iraq, whose shadows and repercussions weigh heavily on the security and stability of many Mediterranean countries.

The same could also be said on the issue of the Turkish request to join the European Union. This issue has cultural and civilisational dimensions in the eyes of us on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean. There have been expressions of alarm about a Muslim nation joining Europe. We are uncomfortable when we witness social and religious discrimination at work in Europe. The Barcelona process needs to play a bigger role in supporting Turkey joining the EU.

Another important issue, international terrorism and its derivatives, has both convergence and divergence of views. I mean, are we of the same opinion about it in the Mediterranean community? Yes, we are all on the same side when it comes to combating international terrorism, which is enemy to all our societies. And yes, we believe that a definition of terrorism should cover all acts aimed at innocent civilian persons. Yes, to collective and co-ordinated policies to defeat this plague.

But there are also some nos. No, we don't believe and we refuse to accept the superficial and bad faith interpretations of the origins of terrorism as a product of Islamic thought and education. Terrorism bears no nationality or religion. Violence including terrorism is the product of ignorance and extreme narrow thoughts which we can find in all religions, policies or societies.