Mediterranean forum hails Agadir declaration for creation of free-trade area
Regional-European Union, Economics, 6/1/2002
The "5+5 forum," a Mediterranean informal dialogue forum held in Tripoli this May 29-30 hailed the Agadir declaration signed in May 2001 between Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt for the creation of a free-trade zone between the four states.
In their final recommendations, the foreign ministers forum of the ten countries, located on the northern and southern banks of the Mediterranean, also supports efforts to give a new impetus to the Arab Maghreb Union and bring an essential contribution to development, stability and integration in the Maghreb region. The forum says it is looking forward with optimism to the outcome of the UMA summit slated for June 21-22 in Algiers.
Heads of delegations underscored the strategic importance of the dialogue forum between European and Arab Maghreb states and the need to further consolidate it in order to achieve security and development in the Mediterranean basin.
The forum further supported cooperation between countries of the region in the struggle against terrorism and called for deepening it.
Of globalization challenges, the forum concluded that countries of the region should earnestly endeavor to consolidate regional economic integration in order to attract foreign investments. Immigration was also a core issue in the debates and the forum said general, balanced and complementary cooperation is needed to face this phenomenon and praised the Tunisian initiative to convene next October a regional encounter on immigration.
Participants also decided to hold the upcoming session in France and agreed to hold a summit of west Mediterranean countries in 2003 in Tunisia.
Morocco was represented by secretary of state for foreign affairs and cooperation, Taib Fassi Fihri.
France praised "the constructive atmosphere" of the Tripoli meeting and the good work done on concrete issues: fight against terrorism, re-launching cooperation between the two banks of the Mediterranean, security and stability in the sub-region, support to the Maghreb integration process, investments, human exchanges and immigration. Countries member to the forum are Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia in addition to France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain.
The informal dialogue forum was launched in early 80's and after an interruption resumed in January 2001 in Lisbon.
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