Euro-Med summit canceled because of Israel participation

The Union for the Mediterranean Summit has been postponed after Arab countries refused once again to participate in the summit if Israel attends, the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz has reported.

The same paper also reported that an advisor to President Nicolas Sarkozy had phoned the head of the Israeli National Security Council Uzi Arad and informed him that the summit had been called off.

Meanwhile, the French Foreign Ministry said that Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit has been in discussions with his French counterpart concerning possible ways to overcome obstacles to the peace process in the Middle East. Abul Gheit has also consulted with his French and Spanish counterparts about possible new dates for the summit.

Egypt has previously said that the summit is contingent on a breakthrough in peace negotiations. 

"Israel has not taken enough steps to move forward with the Palestinians in concluding a peace agreement," Abul Gheit said on Wednesday at a press conference with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. 

French officials have echoed calls that Israel is to blame for stalled negotiations, especially after Israel's announcement of plans to continue settlement construction in East Jerusalem, where Palestinians seek for their future capital. 

The Union for the Mediterranean includes 43 nations, 27 of which are European Union Nations, as well Israel and Turkey. Since its inception two and a half years ago, the initiative, which aims at dialogue and collaboration, has been facing many challenges, especially after the 2008 Israeli raid on Gaza and the 2010 Gaza Freedom flotilla raid.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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