Dialogue and compromise the only way to solve crisis, says National Dialogue Quartet at OSCE Mediterranean Contact Group meeting in Vienna
VIENNA, 29 February 2016 – The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, winner of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, addressed the OSCE Mediterranean Contact Group, in Vienna today. The Contact Group serves as the main venue for regular dialogue between the Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation and the OSCE participating States. It is headed by the incoming 2017 Chair of the OSCE, Austria.
The Tunisian Quartet, represented by Ouided Bouchamaoui, Houcine Abassi, Mohamed Fadhel Mahfoudh and Abdessatar Ben Moussa, was awarded the Nobel Prize for its role in helping the country's transition to democracy in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.
“The method of dialogue and the logic of compromise are the only way to solve a crisis,” said Ouided Bouchamaoui, the head of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts and a member of the Quartet, as she addressed participants.
Michael Linhart, the Austrian Deputy Foreign Minister, in opening the meeting, said: “Here in Austria we are aware of the importance of partnership between institutions and the government, as our own history taught us its indispensability. Vienna has its very own long tradition of dialogue in international crises and the OSCE is a particularly important forum for such efforts. Dialogue requires vision, courage and determination, but above all, it requires the ability to listen to each other´s concerns, and a spirit of compromise. The Tunisian example is a beacon of light in very turbulent times where the use of force is only all too often favoured over peaceful dialogue. It is a beacon of light in a region that itself has been haunted by violent conflict for quite some time and where examples such as your experience are urgently needed.”
The Chairperson of the OSCE Permanent Council, German Ambassador Eberhard Pohl, said to the representatives of the Quartet: “The Nobel Prize pays tribute not only to your outstanding personal achievements and those of your organizations, but also to the positive engagement of the entire Tunisian civil society. The National Dialogue in your country is an example of peaceful conflict resolution with relevance far beyond Tunisia. It is obviously in the interest of us all to back and bolster Tunisia against persisting threats to democracy and freedom. Be assured that we will support you on this way.”
OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier underscored that the Tunisian Quartet’s achievement confirms that successful co-operation between civil society and other key actors within society can create momentum for change to help drive positive reforms. “This Nobel Prize is also a tribute and a call to support all civil society forces promoting democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.”
Philip Nobel, Chairperson of the house of Nobel and President of the Nobel International Fraternity Academy, said: “Democracy is the only thing that counts. For many, democracy is just a word, while for others it is something one dreams of. The National Dialogue Quartet and people of Tunisia turned that dream into reality.”