CAIRO: At his luncthime address to the attendees of the Euromoney conference Tuesday, Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League, appeared flush with his experiences at the G20 meeting in Pittsburg.
He spoke with admiration of the decision to include China and India in the G20, economies he defined as “emerged rather than “emerging, and called on Egypt to achieve similar levels of economic development.
But he acknowledged that advancement does not occur automatically – “there is no free lunch – and countries in the Middle East must transform their societies along with their financial structures if they wish to be global leaders.
He admonished the MENA region’s slow pace of change, particularly the lack of reform in the education and health systems. He touched on the prickly topic of political reform in the Middle East, but then quickly moved on to praise US President Barack Obama.
“We have never had an American president that puts the Israel/Palestine conflict among his first priorities. He [Obama] will make all efforts to . help launch negotiations, Moussa said.
He reprimanded Israel for preventing the commencement of real negotiations by creating a “moving target for the terms of agreement. “Israel is taking a negative posture and refuses to stop building settlements.
The audience nodded in agreement; there appeared to be no one in the room who would not have expressed the same opinion themselves. Although one oblique statement that nuclear capabilities are not needed in the Middle East seemed to represent a jab at Iran, he quickly returned to targeting Israel’s nuclear capacity.