In Lisbon, delegates representing 75 nations converged on the city's Assembly of the Republic centre on Tuesday (28 March) for the opening of the International Parliamentary Union's spring meeting.
In Lisbon, delegates representing 75 nations converged on the city's Assembly of the Republic centre on Tuesday (28 March) for the opening of the International Parliamentary Union's spring meeting. The week-long meeting of parliamentarians is seen as a preparatory step to lead up to the I.P.U.'s 65th conference, due to take place in Bonn in September.
SYNOPSIS: The Lisbon meeting was officially opened by Portugal's President Ramalho Eanes, who first inspected a colourful guard of honour outside the Parliament Buildings. this is the first time the I.P.U. has met in Lisbon, and more than three-hundred delegates are attending the conference. The official opening was also attended by members of Portugal's Assembly.
In his opening address, President Eanes concentrated on growing world concern about the continuing arms race, and hit out strongly at the increasing number of international terrorist attacks. Two of the main topics to be discussed during the I.P.U. meeting are global disarmament, and ways of combatting the terrorism threat.
The I.P.U. is the only world-wide parliamentary organisation of its kind. It dates back to 1889, when Britain and France decided to hold occasional inter-parliamentary conferences. Since then it has grown very quickly to its current global form, with headquarters in Geneva. I.P.U. Secretary-General Pio Carlo Terenzio told reporters at the opening: "We are not in Portugal for a parliamentarians' party or for tourism, but to discuss some of the most important economic and political problems of the moment."
After the official opening, the conference divided up into five study committees to debate particular key issues. Apart from the problems of disarmament and the fight against terrorism, delegates will be looking at the Middle East situation, the political situation in Chile, and violations of parliamentarians' rights. A final general meeting will bring proceedings to a close on Saturday (1 April).