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XXI Congress of the Socialist International, Paris

08-10 November 1999




The XXI Congress of the Socialist International, meeting in Paris 8-10 November 1999, is dedicated to addressing the challenges of global change, to ensuring that as we move into the next century it is toward a more humane society, a world more fair and just.

The pace of change - economic, technological and social - continues to accelerate and the process offers numerous potential benefits. It is the commitment of the members of our International to shape change, to give it direction so that all the people of the world can share in the promise of a better future.

Critical to the task is remaining true to the fundamental principles that have always united and guided us, as we now adapt them to the new realities of today and tomorrow.

Our commitment to liberty, social justice and solidarity, which placed the Socialist International at the forefront in the triumph of the democratic idea as symbolised by the fall of the Berlin Wall, continues to deepen throughout the world, as is evident in the sections of the Congress Resolution that follow.

The Socialist International welcomes a market economy, but we recognise that the market is not a value in and of itself. Rather, we understand the market as an instrument of service to society, whose potential can best be realised for the greatest numbers when citizens themselves, acting freely through democratic political and civic institutions, are in charge of harnessing its enormous strengths.

The Socialist International therefore gives the highest priority to the nurturing of human capital, our most precious resource, with particular emphasis on education and health care. We further believe that the development and realisation of humanity's potential can be based only on full equality for women and their unimpeded integration into society everywhere.

For the Socialist International, globalisation is therefore not simply about the expanded trade in goods and services, but is a phenomenon that underlines the common destiny of mankind and therefore calls for ever greater solidarity internationally, within nations and among citizens everywhere. Our solidarity, in turn, is further strengthened by our respect for and embrace of diversity in the knowledge that it enriches our common identity as democratic socialists.

This Congress of the Socialist International represents not only a renewal of our long-held beliefs, but a reaffirmation of our commitment to finding the best ways to apply them to the realities of today. Democratic socialists, with member parties now in nearly every country on every continent, therefore remain confident and are now doubly determined in our approach to the global challenges we face.




The Socialist International,

Aware of how important democracy is for the socio-economic and cultural development of the peoples of the African continent,

Aware that the participation of all sectors of society contributes strategies for good governance,

Having reflected on the need to adopt policies which ensure good governance in order to achieve stability nationally, regionally and throughout the African continent,

Aware of the need for tolerance, freedom of association, information, expression, of all citizens and of civil society as a whole,

Convinced that democracy must reflect the collective will of citizens expressed by means of an informed and voluntary vote which legitimates it,

Aware that to ensure the stability of the continent, African leaders must accept the principle of democratic alternation of power,

Considering the diversity in Africa and the specific situations which exist in each country of the region, the Socialist International reassert their willingness to strengthen democracy everywhere, because maintaining democracy is the only way to ensure economic and social development with respect for individual and collective human rights,

Convinced that democracy must be supported by dialogue and tolerance to be an irreversible process, and that SI members in the region must develop the practice of democracy within their own parties and disseminate it throughout society,

The Socialist International:

Reaffirms its commitment to collective solidarity so that it can contribute as a whole to the democratisation of Africa, and

Encourages the member parties of the Socialist International, both in Africa and elsewhere in the world, to adopt policies aimed at alleviating the problems of their peoples so that they may develop their potential in a peaceful environment and in which institutions work properly.


Having examined the current situation of the African continent in detail, particularly with regard to the armed conflicts which are taking place, the Socialist International expresses its deep concern, underlining that the absence of peace violates the most fundamental human rights in the African continent.

The Socialist International expresses its solidarity with all the peoples of Africa who are currently denied the opportunity to live in peace. It condemns any violation of decisions taken by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the United Nations, and the Southern African Development Coordination Community (SADC) as regards the conflict in Angola by Jonas Savimbi and his followers.

In this case and in that of the Great Lakes, serious dialogue between the parties is the only way to overcome the crisis.

The international community must assume its responsibility to promote and safeguard a culture of peace.

The Socialist International strongly condemns all those who directly or indirectly contribute to perpetuating war in the continent. In the knowledge that only dialogue and tolerance can lead to the peace which the African continent so deeply desires, the Socialist International is ready to cooperate in any way which may be necessary to achieve the consensus needed.

Finally, the Socialist International appeals to all its members to promote concrete actions and events which will contribute to promoting a culture of peace and integration among their peoples. In the meantime, it undertakes to continue its initiatives to prevent conflicts, in support of its members who are currently suffering the consequences, and to consider sending missions aimed at contributing to the peaceful resolution of these conflicts.

Development and Globalisation

The Socialist International is aware of the constraints that hinder development in Africa and notes that globalisation is an irreversible and unavoidable process which we must all be prepared for.

Widespread and ruthless competition between multinationals to dominate the economic markets of the world affects the development of Africa, which continues to remain on the sidelines.

African governments need to acquire the skills to keep up with the pace of development and the advent of globalisation.

Therefore, the Socialist International recommends that:

1. Objective conditions should be created for contracts to be drawn up between governments and influential social groups who can contribute decisively to the development of their countries.

2. Quality services should be promoted in the areas of healthcare and education to prevent AIDS and protect the human resources of the countries in the region.

3. Internal and external capital investments should be promoted in order to stimulate national entrepreneurship and the private sector.

4. Internal production capacity should be created and stimulus provided for the formation of a middle class which is capable of ensuring sustainable development.

5. The parties of the Socialist International should prioritise the adoption of policies to combat poverty and destitution.

6. African countries should make efforts to equip and utilise regional and sub-regional economic, social and cultural organisations with a view to ensuring their more active and dynamic integration.

7. African countries should work together to achieve the cancellation of foreign debt, which is the main factor restricting their economic and social development.

The Socialist International is aware that the future of Africa will require investment in agriculture, which is the main source of wealth for most African countries, and in other resources, leading to a level of industrialisation which will allow them to process their products and set fairer prices for their goods in international markets.

With regard to Niger, the Socialist International,

Noting with satisfaction the gains made by democratic socialism in Africa generally 

Expresses its support for the continued success of the Party of Democracy and Socialism in Niger, PNDS, in the current and ongoing electoral process which will culminate in a second round of voting on 24 November 1999.

With regard to Guinea, the Socialist International,

Welcoming the Guinean People's Assembly, RPG, as a consultative member of the International 

Reaffirms its call to free from incarceration RPG leader Alpha Condé in order to establish a climate of political concord in the country.

With regard to Equatorial Guinea, the Socialist International,

Expresses its profound concern about the persistent violation of political liberties and human rights, the blocking of the process of democratisation, and the impunity with which these acts are carried out by the regime of President Obiang.

Expresses its support and solidarity with the Convergence for Social Democracy, CPDS, a full member of the International, and the other democratic forces struggling for democratisation in the country in opposition to the violence of the current regime.

With regard to Togo, the Socialist International,

Welcomes the Democratic Convention of African Peoples, CDPA, as consultative members of the Socialist International, and

Expresses its full solidarity with the CDPA in its efforts towards a successful outcome to the internal dialogue underway in that country.

With regard to Western Sahara, the Socialist International,

Reaffirms its resolution on Western Sahara adopted at the SI Council in Geneva in 1998, considering the efforts aimed at finding a just, peaceful and lasting solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

Declares its agreement with the United Nations on the organisation of a free, fair and transparent referendum on self-determination in accordance with the terms of the peace plan and the Houston Agreement.

Calls upon all parties involved and particularly Morocco and Polisario to fully cooperate with MINURSO for the holding of a free, fair, transparent and democratic referendum in Western Sahara.



Priorities and Perspectives for Social Democracy

The Socialist International,

recognises that,

at the heart of the hopes and expectations of the people of the whole region are the establishment and strengthening of democracy and the defence of human rights, justice and freedom;

  • it is urgent to address the issue of globalisation, the need to limit its negative aspects and improve its positive effects so that it does not further deepen inequalities in and between our societies; to contribute to the global betterment of economic and social well-being, and to preserve the environment;
  • the world must not be permanently divided into globalisation winners and losers;
  • the poorest sectors of Asian societies, who benefited least from the so-called 'boom' years, are suffering most from the 'bust' ;
  • the Asian economic crisis highlighted the need to address the inequities of the international financial system, where everyday about one trillion dollars move across the foreign exchanges, and to discourage speculative capital flows ;
  • the Asian financial crisis has finally exposed the extreme vulnerability of economies subjected to cronyism, corruption and nepotism, which are standard practices in authoritarian and dictatorial regimes ;
  • that so-called Asian values should not be used as a justification for authoritarianism ;
  • the immediate challenge for social democracy in the Asia-Pacific region is the empowerment of social democratic forces in the region to collectively become the primary political force in regional affairs and in international relations; and
  • the social democrats in the region need to work together in ending the remaining vestiges of authoritarianism and dictatorships in this part of the world.

reaffirms that,

  • our commitment is to make the next century the century for social democracy in Asia and the Pacific in response to the aspirations of the people in the region for democracy, human rights and justice;
  • the ideals of social democracy are pursued with the full participation of women in the social, cultural, economic and political spheres and by addressing specific issues, needs and concerns of women;


  • the democratisation process which has led to the establishment of democracy in South Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia, the Philippines, Nepal and many other countries in the Asia-Pacific region;
  • the increasing demand and struggle towards democratisation in Malaysia, Indonesia and Burma;
  • the initiatives of Filipino social democrats to preserve, protect and further the democratic gains in that country;
  • the reestablishment of stability and peace in Cambodia, and
  • respect for human rights throughout the entire region.
  • calls for the peaceful negotiations and settlement of disputes
  • between India and Pakistan over their borders in Kashmir;
  • between the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China over the Spratly islands; and
  • between North and South Korea.

considers that the new security arrangements in the region such as the new defence guidelines between the United States and Japan, and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in the Philippines, highlight the need for the development and establishment of new common security policies in the region.

Regarding Malaysia, the Socialist International,

states its concern about the political situation in Malaysia as manifested by among other things, the flawed implementation of the separation of powers of the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary ;

deplores the only recently ended incarceration of Lim Guan Eng who is still deprived of his status as an elected Member of Parliament and Deputy Secretary General of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) of Malaysia, a party which plays an active part in furthering social democracy and is a member of the Socialist International ;

condemns the promulgation in Malaysia of all draconian laws such as the Internal Security Act ;

is aware that the former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was injured during detention and that the charges against him were amended, which inconsistent with the practice of justice ;

takes note of the groundswell of disaffection and discontent especially among the Malaysian youth ;

is alarmed about the ominous warning of the Prime Minister that the forthcoming general elections will be the 'dirtiest' in the history of the country ;

appeals to His Majesty the King of Malaysia to pardon Lim Guan Eng so that his status as an elected Member of Parliament and all of his political rights are restored ;

calls on the Government of Malaysia to :

  • uphold the rule of law and to make sure that Anwar has a fair trial ;
  • repeal all draconian laws ;
  • ensure true independence and separation of powers between the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary ;
  • ensure that the forthcoming general elections are clean, fair and democratic, and
  • allow international observers during the elections.

Regarding Bhutan, the Socialist International is concerned

  • by the continuing lack of progress in the democratisation process in Bhutan ; and
  • by the expulsion of large numbers of its citizens and legally settled inhabitants from its territory which has forced families, particularly of Nepalese origin, to leave behind their ancestral homes, lands and properties and suffer the indignity of living under very difficult conditions as refugees in Nepal and some parts of India.

The Socialist International therefore urges

  • His Majesty the King and the Government of Bhutan to view this situation as a serious humanitarian problem for which the international community feels legitimate concern ; and
  • that appropriate steps be initiated to allow the evicted families to return to their respective homes.

Regarding Burma, the Socialist International,

urges all SI member parties to fully recognise and staunchly support the Committee Representing the People's Parliament (CRPP), formed by the absolute majority of the elected members of parliament through free and fair elections in 1990, in which the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory ;

strongly urges the junta to hand over power to the NLD and the representatives elected by the people of Burma who have the validity and legitimacy to govern the country ;

strongly condemns the sweeping and continuous human rights violations committed by the military government and supports the UN Human Rights Commission resolutions, which catalogued a long list of such violations by the junta in the year of the 50th Anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights ;

demands the cessation of these violations starting with the release of at least 150 detained members of parliament and all other political prisoners;

demands an end to the genocidal war being waged against the non-Burmese ethnic peoples especially in the Karen, Karenni, Shan and Chin states ;

calls on the ASEAN member countries to put strong pressure on the military junta to hold substantial political dialogue with the NLD and the non-Burmese ethnic nationalities in order to resolve the long-standing conflicts in the country and reach acceptable and peaceful solutions to the suffering of the people of Burma ;

reaffirms the Socialist International's unswerving encouragement and support for Burma's democratic movement in general, and the NLD and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in particular.

Regarding Indonesia and East Timor, the Socialist International,

  • welcomes the continuation of the transition to democracy in Indonesia and notably the election of Abdurrahman Wahid and Megawati Sukarnoputri to the highest offices of State. It hopes that the new government will be able to meet the aspirations of the inhabitants of all the islands of the archipelago for peaceful coexistence and respect for human rights ;
  • urges the new government in Indonesia to continue the transition to independence in East Timor ;
  • notes that the government has accepted the vote for independence expressed by the people of East Timor ;
  • deplores the loss of many lives in East Timor ;
  • welcomes the clear statement by the United Nations' Assistance Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) that Indonesian military and police support for militias was in violation of the agreements signed by Indonesia in May 1999 ;
  • notes that the TNI (Indonesian Armed Forces) has been withdrawn from East Timor but that some armed militias remain;
  • notes that many refugees remain unaccounted for ;
  • demands that all steps be taken to ensure the safe and immediate repatriation of all the refugees ;
  • affirms the absolute right of the people of East Timor to safety and security ;
  • calls on the international community to fully participate in the rebuilding of the country.

Regarding Pakistan, the Socialist International,

notes that for many years the situation has been of concern to those in favour of peace and stability in Asia, and that once again a period of uncertainty has come over the country;

calls for the reestablishment of democracy as soon as possible and for free elections to be held allowing for a constitutionally elected government to address the basic problems of Pakistani society and establish the basis for peaceful relations with all Pakistan's neighbours.

Regarding Afghanistan, the Socialist International,

Recognising with dismay

a) that the bloody civil war, whose principal victims are the civilian population, continues in Afghanistan;

b) that in defiance of the concerns expressed by the international community;

- the situation regarding human rights and in particular the rights of women are becoming worse,

- the killing and persecution of religious and ethnic minorities are spreading,

- the forced evacuation of the civilian population, the separation of men from their families, the burning of cultural resources and the destruction of dwellings by the Taliban are increasing.

c) that the continuation of war in this country and its corollaries ­ terrorism, fanaticism and narcotics ­ constitute a growing threat to peace and international and regional stability;

calls for the end of all foreign interference in Afghanistan and in particular the supply of arms and the sending of foreign combatants to the country;

condemns the recent Taliban offenses which violate the Tashkent Declaration adopted on 19 July 1999 by the 'Six plus two' group;

demands of the parties in conflict and particularly the Taliban that they immediately stop fighting and return to the negotiating table;

supports the efforts of the special UN mission in Afghanistan as well as the calls by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council for a negotiated political settlement of the Afghanistan conflict, and

calls on the international community, as winter approaches, to come to the aid of civilian populations so as to relieve one of today's worst humanitarian crises.



This year, the European Union has gone through a decisive phase with the establishment of the single currency, but is it now ready to take on the political aspect of this undertaking? Can the social democrats take the lead? The socialist and social democratic parties who today are in a preponderant position in Europe, state that they will work for an European social model and they declare their will to promote the progress of a political Europe.

The social democratic model relies on the balance between the State and the market. Transposed to a European level this means that a choice must be made between maintaining and developing common voluntarist policies on the one hand or limiting it to the largest free market zone in the world on the other. Voluntarist policies have always been a part of the ambition of the European socialists. With our institutional abilities today, it is possible to create a new system of economic and social structure to serve growth and employment.

This requires instruments of distribution, which will balance regional and social inequalities in accordance with the new political, and institutional methods, which are more, adjusted to the demand of democracy. We are watching the decline of a community system where a competent elite devoted to the common interest assisted in the construction of Europe without the knowledge of the people. Henceforth, the European Parliament claims for full responsibility in the decision process, and the people want to be told what Brussels has in store for them.

But Europe is not a continent isolated from the rest of the world. The Central European countries have already initiated negotiations on the enlargement. Moreover, after Kosovo, we are now called upon to put in place the instruments of common foreign and security policy provided for in the Treaty of Amsterdam. The European Council in Cologne has opened the way to provide the Union with independent military capacity (based on contributions by those member States choosing to participate) which can operate beyond European Union territory, supporting common diplomatic action and, if necessary, without the participation of the USA.

What has been achieved in a few months, at the initiative of our governments, is considerable, since these provisions open the way to stronger political union in Europe. We perfectly know that in this matter the positions of the different countries are based on their respective histories, traditions and interest of national government rather than their membership to the Socialist International. But perhaps it is possible without breaking away from their legitimate heritage to forcefully and credibly affirm our common will to build an open and political Europe where the values of peace and democracy, which have brought us together here, will prevail.



1. Ten years have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall. A historic point of transition for the whole of Europe and for those peoples now irreversibly freed from the oppression of Communist regimes.

Democracy and the principles of the rule of Law are now seen as irrevocable tenets in the consciousness of the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe, while communism is considered to be absolutely incompatible with freedom.

Throughout these countries major progress has been made at all levels, although sometimes a high social price has been paid, and today those men and women who for years were forced to live grey and oppressed lives enjoy a new lease on life and a future.

The Socialist International and its member parties are committed to supporting the nations of Central and Eastern Europe in their pursuit of a stable political democracy, a fair social market economy, and universal respect for the human rights of each individual, community and people.

To attain these objectives, we must overcome three challenges in Central and Eastern Europe: to defend peace and stability in all regions; to open the gates of the European Union to the new peoples, and to bring together modernism and justice, economic growth and solidarity.

Socialist and social democratic parties in Central and Eastern Europe should champion social justice against conservative and liberal governments, they should defend democratic values and institutions and they should fight nationalism and xenophobia.

2. Peace and stability have not yet been fully achieved, particularly in the Balkans. In the last nine years this region has been severely affected by a sequence of crises, conflicts, and wars which have inflicted pain, suffering, and humiliation on hundreds of thousands of men and women.

The Bosnian tragedy was replayed in Kosovo. Once again the international community - after having recourse to all available political alternatives - was forced to implement extreme measures in the defence of the irrevocable and fundamental rights of each individual, of each people.

History has taught the peoples of the Balkans to see their future as an ongoing conflict with their neighbours. Today however we must defend an opposing view: the future is not built against but rather with one's neighbour.

We are determined to ensure all conflicts be resolved through dialogue and co-operation, that understanding conquer hate, and that segregation be vanquished by co-existence.

The future of European integration is also decisive for these severely affected regions. The regions' stability and the future of its peoples depend primarily on the Balkan countries becoming steadfast members of the European Union, although current political and economic conditions render this a possibility only for the long term.

To this end it is crucial that the European Union formalise stable and well-structured relations with the Balkan countries as part of a programme comprised of several stages whose final objective is the ultimate integration of this region within the European Union.

A strategy of this sort will foster and promote the fulfilment of the commitments and the achievement of the objectives set out by the international community in pursuit of stability in the region by:

- Fulfilling the Dayton Agreements, a Bosnia united and based on co-operation among all groups and communities;

- Supporting the UN High Commissioner in Kosovo in the task of empowering self- government in the region together with material and moral reconstruction, while guaranteeing the safety and the rights of all peoples - Albanians, Serbs, Romany and others - living in Kosovo;

- Supporting further development of democracy in multi-ethnic and multi-confessional Montenegro, that has been and still is under constant pressure from the Milosevic regime, by guaranteeing fundamental rights for the people of Montenegro to express their free will on the relation they wish to have with Serbia;

- Guaranteeing in Serbia and elsewhere in the region the rights of all national and ethnic minorities in compliance with the European standards;

- Supporting Serbian democratic and opposition forces to expedite and facilitate Milosevic's removal and install full and true democracy in Belgrade.

- Consolidating democratic stability in Albania and Macedonia;

- Bringing into force a Stability Pact and developing all means of regional co-operation and integration;

- Helping the hundreds of thousands of refugees to return to their homes and once again establish a normal life;

- Supporting the endeavours of the International Court of Justice for War Crimes in ex-Yugoslavia.

3. Throughout the centuries Europe has been unified several times, always through war and one nation's oppression of others.

On the threshold of the new millennium, Europe for the first time in its history is committed to achieving its own reunification through consensus, integration and peace.

The beginning of negotiations which will lead to the entry of Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Estonia and Cyprus to the European Union, and the forthcoming and long awaited negotiations with Slovakia, Bulgaria, Rumania, Lithuania, Latvia and Malta, will represent an historic transition that will contribute to a new European identity.

These countries have come a long way in the last ten years and what is more, the prospect of integration has given rise to and fostered policies of modernisation, which have, in turn, favoured economic and social development.

Now we must forge ahead, providing sufficient resources for the programme of convergence with the 'acquis communautaire' that each candidate country has launched. We must also ensure that other countries that aspire to entry will have the opportunity to start structured relations with the EU. The entry of Central European countries must also be extended to the remaining Euro-Atlantic institutions - WEU, OCSE, OSCE, NATO, institutions for Regional Co-operation - thus creating a network of multilateral relations in Central and Eastern Europe capable of supporting peace, stability and the security of the continent.

4. The transition in Russia and the other nations born out of the disintegration of the USSR has been and continues to be marked by violent change and difficulty. Seventy years of communism and an almost total absence - throughout Russia's history - of experience in democracy and a market economy make political and economic stability even more difficult to achieve.

Political instability, institutional uncertainty, widespread corruption, all jeopardise economic transition and widen the gap between the people and those in power, further weakening the social consensus for democracy.

Undoubtedly it is worrying that some sectors of society in Russia, those most affected by the crisis, profess a nostalgia for the past, but this is an almost unique situation among Eastern countries. The international community must give priority to helping Russia overcome her present difficulties.

Let it never be forgotten that whenever Russia has felt insecure or isolated this instability has swept across the rest of Europe.

A democratic, stable Russia is essential to security in Europe and the rest of the world.

The European Union, in particular, plays a decisive role providing Russia with a strong anchor in Europe and leading a strategy which will help the Russian State and society to gradually come to grips with the modern era and the realities of economic growth. Just as important is the support provided by international political and financial institutions to the policies of reform.

Ideally the forthcoming legislative and presidential elections will serve as an opportunity for an open political class to freely express its wish for a strong programme of renewed democracy and a more equitable economic development.

Stability in Russia is fundamental for the resulting stability of other nations - such as the Ukraine or Belarus - who face severe economic hardship and political instability or who are overwhelmed by war and locked in ethnic conflicts, as in the Caucasus.

The international community must also continue to provide care and commitment and offer such economic co-operation as will allow these countries to benefit from resources such as petroleum and other raw materials. We must likewise underpin the actions of multilateral organisations - such as OSCE - to promote negotiated political solutions to these conflicts

5. The events and developments which struck Central and Eastern Europe ten years ago prove the continuing historic validity of the values of democratic socialism and the need to put these into effect.

When we look back upon the events of the last ten years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, it becomes apparent that savage, selfish liberalism cannot guarantee prosperity for a large number of citizens. This prosperity can only be furnished by those who - like us social democrats - struggle for a democracy which recognises all citizens, for a social market economy, for a more just society capable of combining modernism and solidarity.

These last few years have also seen in these countries the emergence and growth of parties inspired by social democratic principles and programmes, many of which have come to power. The activities of the SI Committee for Central and Eastern Europe - SICEE - actively fostered the presence of social democratic parties in the region. In 1993 - the year the SICEE was founded - the SI had six member parties in that region which have now grown to twenty four and the Congress is studying the applications submitted by several other parties.

The Committee has also established formal relations with other progressive and left-wing parties interested in co-operating with the SI.

In the last six years the SICEE has met in Budapest, Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw, Bucharest, Sarajevo and Moscow, thus ensuring a constant and visible presence throughout the region.

The socialist family's extended presence is heartening evidence of the importance of the values, principles and policies of democratic socialism for the future of Central and Eastern Europe and the rest of the continent.

With regard to Belarus, the Socialist International,

Denounces the violence against and the arrest of peaceful demonstrators in the March for Freedom on 17 October in Minsk.

Urges the Belarusian regime to immediately release political prisoners and to intensify the investigation into the cases of the politicians who have disappeared in mysterious circumstances.

Underlines that the Belarusian regime will have no political legitimacy until free and fair elections have been held.

Recalls the fact that President Lukashenka's presidential period, in accordance with the Constitution has ended.

Gives strong support to the OSCE presence in Minsk and its efforts to promote conditions for free and fair elections as well as the efforts made to ensure that the opposition has access to the media.

With regard to the South Caucasus, the Socialist International,

Will observe that the process of political and economic reforms initiated in the South Caucasus will contribute to the consolidation of the democratic transition, the economic development and the construction of a just and permanent peace.



The Mediterranean has a long history of conflict, disruption and confrontation. At the same time no citizen in this area would feel out of place in any of the other nineteen countries of the region. Recognising that the Mediterranean is also the source of ideas and basic cultural concepts without which our world would not exist, we are determined to promote understanding and mutual knowledge among the societies in order to banish mistrust and collective prejudice. In particular the risk of regarding the aspirations of the peoples of the Mediterranean as in some sense 'criminal' which arises from the over-concentration on security matters, important as these are, at the expense of the real desire for partnership among the states, and above all of the peoples whose countries border the Mediterranean - must be avoided. For this reason the Socialist International proposes three areas of action which are fundamental to the democratic forces involved and particularly to those which border the Mediterranean :

- a push towards a Euro-Mediterranean partnership

- a strengthening of democracy

- action for peace and conflict resolution.


The development of an ambitious Euro-Mediterranean partnership such as resulted from the 1995 Barcelona Conference is a decisive step forward for the Mediterranean which was made possible by the peace initiative which came about in the Middle East. But this partnership which raised great hopes has suffered from the reverses to peace in the Middle East and it is still marked and reduced in scope by the excessive confidence placed in free-trade mechanisms as a solution to the grave problems faced by the societies on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean basin. The two shores of the Mediterranean are sadly affected by disruption and differing forms of development in the fields of demography, political organisation, economy, society and culture. It is for such reasons that Spain, France, Italy and Greece by themselves enjoy 88 per cent of the GNP of the region.

A stable and developing Mediterranean is a strategic objective for Europe and must be seen as such by SI member parties. The great importance and the financial weight attaching to the expansion of the European Union and its responsibilities in the Balkans must not impair Europe's will to make Euro-Mediterranean partnership its first foreign affairs priority and to devote political will and the necessary resources to achieving it. In this context we must mention public sector aid and the debt relief or the conversion of debt into investment. We also have to adopt a firmer attitude to corruption which plagues many societies and drains away resources needed for development.

The development of genuine regional co-operation and the encouragement of initiatives aimed at the construction of a democratic Maghreb are a particular necessity, for they alone are able to promote real regional development and a balanced and effective partnership with the European Union. The EU must use all its influence to prevail on the US to adopt an attitude of co-operation rather than of confrontation in the region.


For socialist and social democratic parties no lasting partnership and no genuine development can be established without development in the field of politics and human rights. To take into account the histories and the specific conditions of each national reality does in no way call into question the universal nature of human rights and democratic principles, the rule of law, freedom for parties to organise effectively, real press freedom and the abolition of monopolisation of power. In this area the Mediterranean region presents some worrying situations. The SI is there not to pronounce condemnations but to encourage all positive developments and to issue words of warning when reverses occur. The courageous and growing vitality of civil society, of the feminist movement and of a demanding young generation which is in a large majority are signs of hope which demand our effective and efficient solidarity. The harassment of those active in politics and in organised groups must be singled out as signs of regressive behaviour. Examples of religious fundamentalism are not just a danger to peoples but an obstacle to the development of real friendship among peoples.

The SI expresses its fraternal support to the process of alternation of political power taking place in Morocco under the auspices of our comrades of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces, USFP: no effort must be spared on their behalf.

Full Resolution (PDF)