Spain in 'final attempt' to hold Mediterranean summit

12th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spain said Friday it is making "a final attempt" to ensure that a Mediterranean Union summit, already postponed due to the situation in the Middle East, takes place in Barcelona this month.

"Unfortunately, we have not managed to see to it that the parties reach an agreement," Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez said, referring to Spanish efforts to confirm the summit for November 21.

Spanish former foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos has travelled to Algiers and Paris in "a final attempt" to try to unblock the situation, she told a news conference following a cabinet meeting.

"For the moment the situation is complicated. There is no decision yet, we are still waiting to find out what will be the final decision."

Diplomatic sources in Paris said a postponement appears likely.

The second summit of the Union for the Mediterranean, initially scheduled to take place on June 7 in Barcelona, was postponed to November to give peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians a chance to produce results.

A spokesman for Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali said Friday he had told Moratinos on Wednesday that the summit depended on an improvement in the Middle East situation, and notably the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks.

The spokesman, quoted by the TAP news agency, blamed Israel's "obstinacy in continuing its settlements policy", but also cited "the lack of progress in realising projects approved by the Mediterranean Union."

The latest round of peace talks was relaunched in September in Washington but ground to a halt when a 10-month partial moratorium on Israeli settlement building on occupied land expired on September 26.

The 43-nation Union for the Mediterranean was established in 2008 in Paris by France and Egypt in a bid to foster cooperation in one of the world's most volatile regions.

Egypt and France co-chair the Mediterranean Union, while Spain hosts the group's headquarters in Barcelona.

© 2010 AFP

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