The architects of the Middle East Peace Conference launched in Madrid in 1991 set up two parallel tracks to resolve past conflicts and sign bilateral peace treaties along with multilateral negotiations on issues affecting the whole region.
Although the multilateral negotiations are an integral part of the peace process, little is known about them due to weak media coverage and a diminishing general interest in them. The process launched five working groups, dealing with the issues of regional economic development; water resources; environment; refugees; and arms control and regional security, each chaired by a different extra-regional party. The negotiations were conducted in seven rounds. After the first organizing session in January 1992, the multilateral working groups developed distinct agendas and goals, each with varying degrees of success. Meetings also moved from European capitals to the region, and continued intermittently until 1995.
This volume presents a comprehensive documentary record of these negotiations, their principal stations and thereby increasing public awareness of them. The book sheds light on the issues that were reviewed by the general steering committee and by the working groups, including Palestinian participation and Palestinian performance in these negotiations. The book attempts to examine the achievements and failures of the multilateral negotiations which have advanced the objectives of the peace process.