Delegates from 14 Arab states gathered in Beirut Monday to unify ranks over radiocommunication policy, a move that Telecommunications Minister Charbel Nahhas said would bolster “the interests and the security of the Arab nations.”
The conference aims to create a joint Arab agenda for the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) set to take place in 2012. The WRC will revise an international treaty governing the use of radio-frequency, an increasingly scarce natural resource, by telecommunication users. The forum will also push for the development of high-speed satellite networks and design regulatory steps to accompany those networks.
Nahhas, who delivered a keynote address during the conference’s opening ceremony, urged Arab states to “work towards improving Arab capabilities and developing knowledge in the telecommunications sector,” arguing that there should be greater efforts to pool intelligence and involve regional universities in research initiatives.
Telecommunications Regulatory Association (TRA) Chairman Imad Hoballah, said the forum was an opportunity for Arab states to jointly ward off future Israeli breaches of Lebanese telecommunication networks.
“Israeli breaches of Lebanon’s networks affect the rest of the Arab states, and particularly those that border Occupied Palestine as well as Palestinian officials themselves,” said Hoballah who stressed that Israel posed a primary obstacle to regional telecommunication development.
Mohammad Ayoub of the TRA touted the conference as a chance for Arab countries to boost regional communications as well as to coordinate with other regional groups and the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Last month, the ITU decried Israeli violations of Lebanon’s telecommunications sector. The statement, issued from a conference in Mexico, said that Lebanon had the right to ask for compensation for the harm that had been inflicted on the telecoms network.
The ITU is the main organizer of the WRC. According to the group’s website, one of its primary goals is to secure free radio-communication systems that are free of interference. It seeks to achieve this by enacting current radio regulations and ensuring they are up-to-date at World and Regional Radiocommunications Conferences.