[JURIST] French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner [BBC profile] said Monday that officials will have to adjust the final declaration [PDF text] of a Paris Mediterranean summit [summit materials, PDF] because of a disagreement between Israelis and Palestinians on how Israel [JURIST news archive] is described in the agreement. The summit began Sunday and was designed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy as an effort to unify Mediterranean countries around common interests such as ecological protection, transportation routes, security, and commercial development:
Over and above existing cooperation, it aims to establish shared governance and create ever-closer cooperation through concrete regional projects. This renewed political drive to further Mediterranean interests must be reflected in the establishment of a genuine and equal partnership between the northern and southern rims.Palestinian foreign minister Riyad Al-Maliki said the original declaration's reference to Israel as the "state of the Jewish people" and a "national and democratic state," failed to recognized Palestinian [JURIST news archive] interests in the country. The final version of the Union for the Mediterranean's text was vaguely worded in order to avoid this and other contentious details, but summit leaders have said they will continue to work on making the agreement more specific. AFP has more.
The Union for the Mediterranean will include 43 countries [WAFA report] from both Europe and the Middle East. It is designed to take the place of the 1995 Euro-Mediterranean Partnership [founding text; materials], which was also targeted at promoting cooperation within the region.