Foreign Minister: Mediterranean Union summit depends on peace progress

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Monday the prospect of Egypt hosting the second summit of the Union for the Mediterranean is contingent on progress being made in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

The union, created in 2008, is a forum for dialogue and cooperation between EU, African, and Arab states.

Abul Gheit, speaking in a press conference, said the date of the upcoming Mediterranean summit has not yet been determined.

Also speaking at the press conference was EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Stefan Fule.

Abul Gheit said Egypt's stance is "normal and logical." He added that there has been discussion about holding the summit in Barcelona in late November.

Some analysts doubt the second summit will be held soon, particularly after Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced in May his intention to participate, despite objections by Egypt and Syria. Both Arab nations have threatened to boycott the summit if Lieberman attends.

Fule said no decision has been made to cancel or put off the summit.

The Union encompasses all 27 EU member states and 16 states from around the Mediterranean.

The proposal to establish a "Mediterranean Union" was part of French President Nicolas Sarkozy's election campaign in the lead-up to the 2007 French presidential poll.

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