Monday, May 10, 2010

Arab states to boycott Mediterranean Union meeting


"Arab countries are threatening to boycott a June summit meeting of leaders of the Mediterranean countries if Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu ) attends.

The threat to boycott the Barcelona summit, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also scheduled to attend, was initiated by Egypt and Syria. They have informed both their Spanish hosts and France, which co-chairs the sponsoring organization, the Union for the Mediterranean, that Arab leaders will stay away if Lieberman shows up.

The Union for the Mediterranean was established (farmer: based on Javier Solana's Barcelona Process and /on Javier Solanas birthday 14. of) July 2008 by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in an effort to promote economic, scientific and cultural projects among countries bordering the Mediterranean. Egypt co-chairs the organization with France. The summit was scheduled for June 8 in Barcelona by virtue of Spain's rotating presidency of the European Union.

Netanyahu has already confirmed his attendance, and Lieberman had been expected to join him"....

"Senior Israeli officials confirmed the threat of a boycott. "The Arabs are not prepared to be in the same room with Lieberman, or to take the risk that they would have to be photographed with him or shake his hand," said one.

The feeling at the Foreign Ministry is that the Arab threat could lead to the summit either being canceled entirely or convening at a lower level, with officials of ambassadorial rank only. If this is the result, it would be seen as a humiliation not only for Spain and France, but for the European Union as a whole.

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos, who will arrive in Israel today to receive an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, is expected to discuss the matter in his talks with Netanyahu. Moratinos will then go to Damascus Wednesday night and meet with President Bashar Assad in an effort to convince the Syrian leader to lift the boycott threat. If Assad agrees to participate, Egypt is considered likely to forgo its opposition as well, and to be followed by the other Arab countries.

In addition to the heads of the 27 EU member countries and their foreign ministers, Spain is slated to host the leaders of all the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including Israel, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, in addition to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority." Link

stay tuned!


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