The international guests of honor this year will include some current Heads of State and Government. The Forum will also feature other distinguished opinion leaders, eminent political thinkers, decision – makers and members of parliament, renowned businessmen, academics, media figures and international organizations. These participants will contribute to a free, learned and stimulating debate on each of the many topics on the Forum's agenda, with a focus on the Arab Spring, the global financial and economic crisis, International Cooperation, Global Economy, Development, Human Rights and Digital Media.
The 13th Doha Forum will be held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in the State of Qatar from 20-22 May, 2013. It will be attended by more than 600 participants representing over 80 countries and organizations.
Doha Forum 12.05.2014
Perspectives on International Stability.
Your Highness, Mister Prime Minister, Mister Minister,
Excellences and Dear Friends,
We are in a highly instable world. I would like to say in a volatile world. In a world where every sparkle can set whole regions in fire.
We have to ask ourselves what is the cause of all this instability. The cause of instability, let me tell you out of experience, is always excess.
• Excess through force. The military intervention in Iraq has been the symbol of the mistakes of the West. The truth of international relations is that every action creates a reaction. You can't act responsibly if you don't anticipate the consequences of your actions. Force always creates new unbalances, new problems. Look at what happened in Libya. Force was used to support civilians against a cruel dictatorship. But what happened? It strengthened jihadist fighters in the Sahara and gave them massive access to weapons. This lead to new use of force by France in Mali, to stop jihadist brigades to take Bamako. This in turn created a climate against Muslims in Africa and led to religious violences in Central Africa and France again had to intervene to protect in particular Muslim populations from massacres. It's a cycle of unbalances without end. Force never creates balance.
• The cause of instability is always excess indeed, excess of ideology, also. Everywhere we see the temptation to settle accounts, to set moral standards for others, without always respecting them for oneself. It can be the arrogance of democracies who think they have the ultimate truth about a better world. It can be the arrogance of religions that leads to fanaticism, violence, intolerance. Ideologies create explosive identities and it is not by chance that the world seems to be crumbling apart, that many states are going through a phase of partition, that communities fight each other. Look at Irak, at Libya. Look at Ukraine with its deep cultural divisions. Look at Europe, at Spain and Catalunya, at England and Scotland, at Belgium. We are in a world where no one accepts to live with someone different anymore.
• Excess, as I said, excess of greed also, when financial instability is created by unbalances in the worldwide financial system, by the capture of the world's interest through the interest of some regions of the world. This is the lesson we should have learnt from the crisis of 2008. Let me take two examples of unfairness that creates dangerous unbalances.
• First the currency system. One national currency has become the only worldwide currency, the US dollar. We need a more balanced system, taking into account other currencies like the euro, the yuan. We could use a basket of currencies as a reference, as General de Gaulle proposed already fifty years ago.
• Second example is risk assessment. Today the ratings of three US based credit rating agencies decide almost alone where the world money should flow and where not, or rather at what price it will flow here or there. This means the main debtor economy of the world controls the taps of the creditor countries, in Asia or in the Middle East. This means also less growth, because the money doesn't go where it would be most useful and whole sectors of finance are forgotten, for example Islamic finance. This is neither fair nor sound for the future. That's why we need more diversity in credit rating, we need new types of credit rating agencies and we need new forms of regulation, like the introduction of a dual rating system, both with local and with global criteria.
Stability is not only an objective. It's an ethic obligation. And this is my message today. It's a day to day commitment to rebalancing the world.
• Committing to stability means thinking ahead. It means taking into account the consequences of your actions and it is at the same time anticipating the crisis that have not occurred. Our mission is vigilance, for ourselves and for our friends. The threats of terrorism need to be measured well ahead, in particular in a region like here, with many worldwide events coming ahead.
• Committing to stability means acting for every crisis, because if you let a crisis without response, you will accumulate frustrations, hates. Today we need the international community to act on the Ukrainian crisis. We have to build step by step approaches, dissipate the misunderstandings and preconceptions on all sides and make the solution of the crisis possible. Today this means creating an increasing legitimacy of the Ukrainian institutions, through elections and through constitutional reforms and it means giving guarantees to all partners, on the neutrality and the integrity of the Ukrainian state.
• Committing to stability means choosing realism over ideology, pragmatic and humble, taking realities as they are. We need to take time. We need to accept that there can be failures or delays. On Syria, we have been blinded by our good intentions. We have not taken enough into account the resistances and the obstacles. But today let's be pragmatic and ask ourselves what can we do? We can try to alleviate the hardships of the Syrian people, we can put all our weight on humanitarian efforts, through the UN while we keep working on the ways and means of a new political process.
Your Highness, Excellencies, dear friends, Yes, the key to stability is dialogue.
• This means mediation and there are countries which have a particular capacity and a particular destiny to be mediators.
It's true of France, a country that has learnt how easy it is to go to war and how difficult it is to step out of it.
• But I think this role of mediation is also a role for your country at a time when, more than ever, we need innovative and discreet diplomatic efforts.
• This means also a global and a regional governance to make dialogue possible.
• We need stronger United Nations.
• We need stronger regional organizations. It is difficult everywhere, in the European Union, in the African Union and even here in the Gulf Cooperation Council. Because new adjustments have to be found to go forward.
• This means, last of all, also choosing dialogue, between countries, cultures and civilizations. There are never enough bridges. We have to hold the world together with our hands. Stability is never granted.
Working towards a more balanced world, this is what experience should teach us today. That's why I'm so happy to see this Forum of Doha, growing year after year, as a place of exchange of ideas, which means preparing new and useful initiatives.