Euro-Mediterranean Summit in Barcelona postponed until November

Delay aims to provide more scope for action on talks between Arabs and Palestinians

Mario Rubio

May 21, 2010 04:11 PM

Barcelona (CNA) .- The Foreign Ministers of Spain, France and Egypt will meet next Sunday in Cairo (Egypt) with the aim of redefining the Summit of the Union for the Mediterranean. The summit was to be held on June 7th in Barcelona but has now been postponed until the third week of November, according to a statement from the Spanish Foreign Ministry. This new date coincides with the commemoration of the fifteenth anniversary of the Barcelona Process, which was launched in 1995 and marked the start of Euro-Mediterranean talks. The temporary postponement of the summit will provide more scope for action on talks between Arabs and Palestinians, under U.S. mediation.
The news was announced by Egypt's presidential spokesman, Suleiman Awad, from Athens. According to statements collected by the Mena Awad agency, the postponement had the backing of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is aiming to move forward with the peace process in the Middle East. The summit was postponed after Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, spoke with Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who all agreed with the decision.

According to the Foreign Ministry, this decision was taken because the new date satisfies “all conditions” for the summit in Barcelona, in order to get “the success we all seek” and contribute to the peace process in the Middle East. Last week the Israeli press questioned the celebration of the Euro-Mediterranean Summit in Barcelona after Syria and Egypt threatened to boycott the event if Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, attended due to his extreme-right positions.

The U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, arrived in the region today to promote peace negotiations between Arabs and Israelis. This came ten days after the White House fostered a new dialogue procedure within a deadline of four months, with the aim of restarting talks between both parts.