The Conservative Middle East Council (CMEC) was honoured to have Prime Minister, David Cameron, address its annual Gala Dinner held at the Banqueting House on 17th October 2012. The event was attended by a significant number of Conservative Parliamentarians, Middle East Ambassadors, and friends of CMEC – all of which made for a hugely successful evening.
The Prime Minister gave an insightful speech highlighting the growing importance of relations between Britain and the Middle East and North Africa.
Commenting on the instability in the Middle East caused by continued political change, he praised “the essential work that CMEC does in introducing Conservative Parliamentarians to the region and helping to deepen their understanding of the challenging issues we face there.” He drew particular attention to CMEC’s work on the “Middle East Peace Process and the Iranian nuclear weapons programme…making for strong and informed voices in Parliament,” as well as it’s indispensable role in, “helping Britain to lead the international support for the patient work needed to build democratic institutions,” and to help governments throughout the Middle East, “address grievances through dialogue and reform, not violence.”
He urged us to, “remain committed to being optimistic about the events in the Middle East around the Arab Spring and strong in our view as conservatives that more open societies, the spread democracy and rights are positive things.” Addressing the recent elections in the Middle East, he argued, “we should respect elections and then we should be very clear about what we expect of those who are elected and where they live up to their promise and where they defend the rights of all people, including minorities, we should praise them and want to work with them.”
The Prime Minister concluded by wishing, “you every success in what CMEC does. To me this is a very important part of the Conservative Party. CMEC is not just making a great contribution to our country, you are making a huge contribution to our party.”
CMEC Chairman, The Baroness Morris of Bolton, offering a vote of thanks, further endorsed the Prime Minister’s recognition of the present high stakes in the Middle Eastern region and the opportunities the current situation presents to build close and profound friendships.