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Mubarak in Paris to revive Mediterranean Union initiative

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-22

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris for talks on reviving the Mediterranean Union initiative and the Mideast peace process.

AFP - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday arrived for talks in Paris to revive the Mediterranean Union initiative and the Middle East peace process, the foreign ministry said.
  
Mubarak, who met with French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy over lunch on Tuesday, held talks with Prime Minister Francois Fillon at his Paris hotel after arriving in the afternoon, Fillon's office said.
  
Fillon did not give details about the talks which lasted 45 minutes.
  
No statements were expected Tuesday after Mubarak's meeting with Sarkozy.
  
The French foreign ministry said the visit was "taking place within the normal framework of bilateral relations".
  
Mubarak and Sarkozy are expected to discuss "regional issues, the Middle East peace process and to assess the relaunch of the Mediterranean Union as well as the (G8) summit in L'Aquila", Italy earlier this month, the ministry said.
  
At the July 8-10 summit Mubarak had urged the leaders of the world's richest countries to freeze repayments due on loans to Africa in order to help the poorest through the economic crisis.
  
The Egyptian leader addressed a working meeting between the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States and eight African leaders on the closing day of the G8 summit in Italy.
  
Launched at a summit in Paris a year ago, the Mediterranean Union brings together EU members with states from north Africa, the Balkans, the Arab world and Israel in a bid to foster cooperation in one of the world's most volatile regions.
  
But like its regional predecessor, the Barcelona Process which stalled in large part over Arab-Israeli disputes, the Mediterranean Union got bogged down by Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip in response to Hamas missile strikes.
  
The initiative, championed by Sarkozy, resumed last month when environment ministers, including representatives from Israel and the Palestinian territories, met in Paris.
  
The union's priorities are to fight pollution in the Mediterranean, increase solar energy use, build land and sea highways and cooperate on higher education and research.
  
They are to be achieved by joint projects, which it is hoped would also help improve regional integration.

Date created : 2009-07-21

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