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Arab social democrats announce international partnership - Daily News Egypt

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Arab social democrats announce international partnership

Committee to establish an Arab social democratic forum aimed at training and aiding social democratic parties in the post-Arab Spring world

Three social democratic parties from Tunisia, Egypt and Palestine announced on Monday the launch of an organisational committee aimed at uniting social democratic parties from all around the Arab world. According to their press release, the committee is holding talks with several parties.

The Tunisian Ettakatol Party, Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) and the Palestinian Fatah are attempting to create a unified Arab social democratic front that will encourage partnership, coordination, and the exchange of ideas and resources between established parties, as well as parties currently undergoing establishment.

Hussein Gohar, the international secretary for the ESDP and committee co-founder, said the idea was conceived during the Tunisian Arab Spring conference in September. “We established the committee last week and had a final meeting during the French socialist party conference in Tunis two weeks ago,” Gohar said. The committee was also founded by Husam Zomlot and Khelil Ezzaouia, from Fatah and Ettakatol respectively.

The committee is comprised of only the three parties but their objective is to organise the first Arab Social Democratic Forum (ASDF) to be held within the first quarter of 2013. “The organisational committee will be inviting other social democratic parties in the Arab world,” Gohar said. He stressed that the committee was merely the initial phase to encourage greater participation amongst social democratic parties across the Arab world. “Who will be invited, the date of our next meeting, the logistics and program will be decided by the three parties in the beginning,” he continued, “but we are going to establish the forum itself once we hold our first conference.”

In all, there are 15 parties that Gohar expects will be attending the forum. “There is a great interest from European parties to be invited to the first forum,” he said. Once established, ASDF will provide training and meetings with experts for its members.

“We have already established training programs with the Danish social democratic party as well as both the British and Norwegian labour parties,” Gohar added. “We are still negotiating with the Swedish party but they have offered us training, and the Jordan social democratic party, which is still being formed, asked us [ESDP] to go and give lectures about our experiences in Egypt.”

Through various forms of publications, ASDF plans on disseminating social democratic ideas representative of the principles of their ideology, which include notions of equality, freedom of expression, women’s rights and minority rights in the Arab world. Once established, ASDF aims to be an “Arab body that can facilitate effective means of communication and exchange between Arab social democrats and their international counter parts in order to focus global support through partnerships and joint participation for the promotion of common principles,” their statement read.

The committee is also reaching out to Asian and Latin American parties. “There is no confirmation yet,” Gohan explained, “but we are looking towards Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Mexico.”

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