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News West Mediterranean countries call to relaunch the Union for the Mediterranean

The 10 countries of the western Mediterranean vowed last 21th April to "overcome obstacles" blocking the relaunch of the Union for the Mediterranean, which has been stalled over the recent war in Gaza.

The foreign ministers and senior officials at the so-called "5+5 Forum" called on the French and Egyptian co-presidents of the Union for the Mediterranean "to remain in touch with the parties concerned to create the conditions for a resumption of work" on the project.

In a final statement after a one-day meeting in Cordoba, in southern Spain, they emphasized their "willingness to contribute to efforts made to overcome obstacles."

"We hope that Egypt and France are capable now of clarifying the position and that we can organize in Brussels a meeting of senior officials to launch" the process, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told a news conference.

Launched at a Paris summit in July, the Union for the Mediterranean groups EU member states with countries in North Africa, the Balkans, the Arab world as well as Israel in a bid to foster cooperation in one of the world's most volatile regions.

But the project has been the victim of the 22-day Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that ended on Jan. 18 as Arab countries have refused to sit next to Israel.

The meeting of 21 April in Cordoba brought together foreign ministers or representatives from Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia.

France was represented by Pierre Sellal, secretary general of the foreign ministry, instead of Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini was also absent, his place taken by Secretary of State Stefania Craxi.

Other links: (in Spanish)

Contact information n/a
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information AFP / Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation
Keyword(s) Union for the Mediterranean, Mediterranean-Union
Geographical coverage Euromed, Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia
News date 04/05/2009
Working language(s) ENGLISH