The Middle East

Middle East – 2020: Is the Comprehensive Settlement Possible?

Gershon Baskin joined world leaders from Russia, Jordan, Bahrain, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, United States, France, Iran, Lebanon at the United Kingdom at the Middle East 2020: Is a Comprehensive Settlement Possible? conference in Jordan

The Russian News & Information Agency RIA Novosti and the Russian Council for Foreign and Defense Policy within the framework of the Valdai International Discussion Club held a three-day conference, “The Middle East 2020: Is a Comprehensive Settlement Possible?”. The conference took place in Jordan on the Dead Sea on December 20-22, 2009.

It was the first time when major Middle East problems are covered by participants of the International Discussion Club Valdai and the first time over the long haul when Russian Federation organized such an ambitious international event in the Middle East.

The Conference was attended by leading analysts, scientists, politicians and journalists who were experts on the Middle East settlement and regional and energy security from Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Britain, France and the United States.

The Russian delegation to the conference included Chairman of the Presidium of Council for Foreign and Defense Policy Sergey Karaganov, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, Vitaly Naumkin, director of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexei Vasilyev. A member of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences Evgeny Primakov and Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov, have been invited to address the conference as special guests.

The participants discussed questions about the role of the Middle East in global energy security, strengthening the Non-proliferation regime, regional conflict settlement and many other key regional issues which have implications for the broader global agenda.
Conference Coverage

Opening session
Address of academician Evgeny Primakov
Address of the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Alexander Saltanov
First session: Conflict Settlement: Towards a Regional Balance

– Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Settlement Is the Key to Regional Stability

– Possible Sources of the Conflicts: Political and Religious Contradictions, Mineral Recourses and Water, Imbalances of the Economic Development

– Prospect of Establishing Regional Security Organization

Second session: Strengthening Non-proliferation: The Middle Eastern Aspect
– Nuclear weapon role in the 21st century – is the disarmament possible?
– Is the Prospect of Making the Middle East the Nuclear-Free Zone Real?
– Peaceful Atom: Providing Safe Nuclear Energy Development in the Region.

Third session: Global Energy Security. The Role of the Middle East
– Hydrocarbon Market Regulation: Avoiding Cataclysms?
– Interaction of the Oil and Gas Producers: Possibilities and Reality
– How the Balance of Interests between the Producers and Consumers Can Be Established?

Forth session: Non-regional Players and Their Role in the Middle East
– Regional assessment of the international efforts’ efficiency.
– The prospects of the Quartet on the Middle East. Can the Quartet Agenda Cover the Whole Region?
– Russian Policy in the Middle East. The New Chapter.

Closing session: The Middle East in 2010-2020: the Prospects. Where to go?

Evgeny Primakov
Academician. Former Prime Minister, former Foreign Minister, and former Director of Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia.
Alexander Saltanov
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Vitaly Naumkin
Director for the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (since 2009); President of the Center for Strategic and Political Studies (since 1991); Editor-in-Chief of Vostok-Oriens magazine of the Russian Academy of Sciences (since 1998); Member of the Scientific Council under the Security Council of Russia, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, Moscow (2006); Professor and Chair, Faculty of World Politics, Moscow State University (since 2003); Good Will Ambassador for the Alliance of Civilizations(2007)
Sergei Karaganov
Deputy Director of the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dean of the Department of World Economy and World Politics at the State University – Higher School of Economics, Chairman of the Presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, Chairman of the editorial board of Russia in Global Affairs magazine
Alexey Vasiliev
Director of the Institute of African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Irina Zvyagelskaya
Professor MGIMO, Vice-President of the Center for Strategic and Political Studies, specialist in Palestinian-Israeli conflict
Elena Melkumyan
Doctor of political studies, Russian State Humanitarian University, specialist in the Gulf
Grigory Kosach
Professor of the Institute of Asian and African Studies at the Moscow State University
Leonid Grigoriev
President of the Energy and Finance Institute Foundation (since 2004); leading Research Fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences (since 2001)
Alexander Yakovlev
Senior Researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies, specialist in economics, oil and gas, water, Gulf
Anton Khlopkov
Director of the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), specialist in nuclear energy and non-proliferation
Sergei Vershinin
Director of the Department of the Middle East and North Africa of the MFA of the Russian Federation
Piotr Stegniy
Honorary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Israel
Gennady Tarasov
Ambassador at large of the MFA of the Russian Federation
Andrei Baklanov
Head of the Department of foreign affairs of the Federation Council of the RF
Rafeeq Nishanov
Former Ambassador of the USSR to Jordan
Fedor Lukianov
Editor-in-chief of the “Russia in global affairs” magazine
Yelena Souponina
Head of the International Department, Vremya Novostei
Aidar Aganin
Director of the “Rusia al-Yaum” TV channel
Alexander Reutov
Special correspondent, Kommersant
Nikolai Sourkov
Correspondent, specializing in the Middle East, Nezavisimaya Gazeta
Ivan Groshkov
Editor, “Russia Today” in Arabic TV channel, also writes for different Russian media, for example “Expert” magazine
Arhan Jamal
Correspondent, “Russian Newsweek” magazine

Jafar Hassan
Director of the International Affairs Department at the Royal Hashemite Court, Jordan
Nahar Omar
Director of Policy Planning and Research at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jordan.
Mohammad Shiyyab
Director General of the Cooperative Monitoring Center-Amman (CMC-A); Chairman of the Board for the (Jordanian) Regional Human Security Center (RHSC); General (retired), former Deputy Commander of the Royal Jordanian Air Force.
Muin Khoury
Director of Research at the Royal Hashemite Court.
Hani Jabsheh
Founder and CEO, Al Bawaba pan-arab media company.

Mansoor Al Arayedh
Chairman of the Gulf Council for Foreign Relations at the Kingdom of Bahrain.


Ayman Abdel Nour
Member of Syria’s Baath party, and the editor-in-chief of, a leading independent media outlet in Syria.

Nabil Fahmy
Ambassador at large at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, formerly Egypt’s ambassador to the United States (1999 to 2008); Dean of the School of Public Affairs and Professor of International Diplomacy, The American University in Cairo.
Ezzedine Choukri Fishere
Teacher at AUC in Cairo, former diplomat and policy advisor to the Egyptian Foreign Minister.
Dy Head of the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies

Palestinian Territories

Abu Alaa
(Ahmed Qurei)
Fatah member, former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority
As’ad Abdul Rahman
Representative of the President of the Palestinian National Authority.
Samir Abdullah
The Palestinian Planning Minister
Maher El Kurd
Chairman of The Economic Committee of Fatah, and an economic advisor to the Palestinian President.
Sufian Abu Zaida
Senior PLO official, former palestinian minister
Saad Khatib
Palestinian trade expert currently heading the USAID Trade Facilitation Project
Mustafa Barghouti
Palestinian democracy activist. Was a candidate for the presidency of the Palestinian National Authority in 2005, finishing second to Mahmoud Abbas, with 19% of the vote. Currently a deputy of the Palestinian Legislative Council
Mkhaimar Abusada
Political science professor at Al-Azhar University in Gaza.
Montaser Hamdan
Journalist for Al-Hayat Al-Jadida

Saudi Arabia

Abdullah Abdulmohsen Al-Farag
General Director of Planning Department of chamber of commerce and industry Al-Ryad.

United States
James Clad
Professor of Near Eastern studies at NDU and recently Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.
Ellen B. Goldring
Professor of Education Policy and Leadership at Vanderbilt University, USA.

Orri Ben-Porat
Aide and economic advisor to Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Shmuel Sandler
Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and political science professor at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Prominent analyst of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as religion, party and electoral politics in Israel.
Efraim Inbar
Professor, Director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, specializing in Middle Eastern strategic issues including Iran.
Gershon Baskin
Founder and co-director of the Israel-Palestine Centre for Reseach and Information (IPCRI) joint Israeli-Palestinian public policy research think tank.
Shimshon Brockman
Head of the Fuels Directorate of the Israel Electric Company, in charge of the groundbreaking agreements for supply of natural gas from Egypt to Israel, and from the Israeli-Palestinian offshore field. Olympic athlete (1988 Seoul Olympics).
Jacob Amidror
Vice President of the Lander Institute, Jerusalem Academic Center (founded by Touro College). Program Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Gil Feiler
Expert on Middle East business and economics, heads a consultancy serving international corporations and governments; Author and speaker on business in the region.
Yoel Esteron
Founder and publisher of Calcalist business daily. Former Managing Editor of “Yedioth Ahronoth” and “Haaretz” newspapers. Teaches at IDC.
Institute for National Security Studies, Israeli ambassador to Ukraine in 1993, ambassador to Russia in 1998
a long-time journalist and columnist for The Jerusalem Post

Barah Mikail
Research fellow at the Institute for International and Strategic Relations (IRIS), specialized on Middle-Eastern issues. He is also a specialist of Water-related Geopolitical issues.
Mrs. V. Hoffenberg
France’s special representative for economic, cultural, educational and environmental dimensions of the Middle East peace process.
Patrick Seale
British writer on the Middle East, and author of books on Syria and President Assad and on Abu Nidal; Now works for Agence Global, France.

Mohammed Saleh Sadkyan
Director of the Iranian Research Center, specialist in the Middle Eastern Affairs and regional security.

General Amin Hteit
Professor of the Lebanese University, Head of the Commission on demarcation of the Lebanese-Israeli border after the withdrawal of the Israeli forces from Lebanon in May 2000; expert in regional security.
Imad Rizk
Lebanese publicist and expert in regional security matters, writes a book on Lebanese-Russian relations and Middle Eastern policy of Russia.
Paul Salem
Director of the Carnegie Middle East Center. Prior to joining Carnegie in 2006, Salem was the general director of the Fares Foundation and from 1989 to 1999 he founded and directed the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, Lebanon’s leading public policy think tank.
Muhamad Mugraby
Dr. Mugraby is the Chairman of MIRSAD, a human rights organization in Beirut, and a high-profile advocate of legal reform in Lebanon. He is also a lawyer with an international practice based in Beirut, former legal advisor to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and has taught at the Lebanese University’s Law School.
Timur Goksel
Teaches at the Political Science and Public Administration Dept. of the American University of Beirut; former Senior Adviser of the UN Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

United Kingdom
Mamoun Fandy
International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Director of the Iranian Research Center, specialist in Middle Eastern affairs and regional security.