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Mubarak in talks to boost Mediterranean Union

Article published on the 2009-07-21 Latest update 2009-07-21 11:16 TU

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh this month.(Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh this month.
(Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is in Paris for talks aimed at reviving the Mediterranean Union initiative and the Middle East peace process.

Mubarak will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy over lunch on Tuesday, while yesterday he held talks with Prime Minister Francois Fillon. No details of his 45-minute meeting with Fillon were given, and no statements are expected after his Sarkozy meeting.

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 summit, Mubarak 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 Mediterranean Union was launched in Paris a year ago and 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.

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