A conference of foreign ministers of the Mediterranean Union due to take place in Istanbul in November has been cancelled after Egypt and several other Arab countries objected to the participation of Israel’s extremist foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman; the Jerusalem Post reported yesterday.
Egypt’s foreign minister, Ahmad Abu Al-Ghaet confirmed last week his refusal to participate in the conference if it was attended by Liebermann. An Israeli source claimed Egypt “is seeking to incite the European countries against it even though it is only one country among the 47 members of the Mediterranean Union expected to attend the conference.”
Meanwhile, intervention and strong pressure from France failed to persuade the Egyptians to change their stance.
Diplomatic tensions between Israeli and Turkey over Gaza have also added to the obstacles before the conference. Egypt has refused to conduct any contacts with the Israeli foreign minister since he took office in March. Liebermann is reported to have said “let Mubarak go to hell,” after the latter refused to visit Israel.
The Mediterranean Union was established in 2008 on the initiative of French President Nicola Sarkozy whose country now hold the joint chair with Egypt.