Minister Cannon Announces Qatar as Host of 2010 Forum for the Future

(No. 328 - November 3, 2009 - 4:25 p.m. EST) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Qatar has agreed to host the next Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) Forum for the Future, which will occur during Canada’s G8 presidency in 2010. Minister Cannon made the announcement at the conclusion of the 2009 Forum, held in Marrakesh, Morocco, on November 2 and 3.

"Qatar is a good choice for host of the next BMENA Forum for the Future because of its recognized role in facilitating the African Union-United Nations mediation process on Darfur," said Minister Cannon. "I also reiterated my support for Qatar’s role in Sudan."

At the Marrakesh Forum, Canada supported the participants’ commitment to development, human rights, democracy and security.

"This forum upheld the principle that political and economic freedoms ultimately serve to strengthen regional stability and security," said Minister Cannon. "Canada also shares the participants’ commitment to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."

The Forum for the Future brings together the countries of the broader Middle East and North Africa region and those of the G8. It is part of the BMENA Initiative launched at the 2004 G8 Summit, where the G8 countries stressed their commitment to supporting reforms in the region and to establishing informal, flexible, open and inclusive dialogue with the BMENA countries. The Forum is the only one of its type in the region, where a parallel civil society dialogue provides input on reforms and works with governments on implementation.

Minister Cannon also discussed issues related to the current global economic crisis at the Forum.

"Canada understands the need to address such global challenges, and we are committed to working in full partnership with the BMENA countries and with the G8 to promote freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law," said Minister Cannon.

Canada has pledged $50 million to support projects currently underway in the BMENA region that further development in the private sector, improved governance and basic education.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874