President Hollande stresses on the importance of the Mediterranean as a major pillar of the French Foreign Policy
Paris, 28 August 2012. The Secretary General of the UfM, Fathallah Sijilmassi, attended the opening ceremony of the 20th Annual French Ambassadors’ Conference, chaired by President François Hollande and held on 27th August in Paris.
During the opening speech President Hollande said: “My priority is to develop what I call a Mediterranean of projects. It is to this end that I have asked the government to appoint an interministerial delegate to the Mediterranean. I want the expertise of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean to be used at maximum, with the commitment of the EU and especially the Commission; we have to do it with the support of Europe. And he concluded: “The Deauville Partnership, which is a good initiative, will also allow us to better assist developing countries in political transition. I would like to highlight the importance of the cooperation with the Maghreb countries, including the 5 +5 Group, which will help reinforce dialogue.”
During his visit to Paris, Secretary General Sijilmassi held a bilateral meeting with the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius. During the meeting they discussed the progress of concrete cooperation projects promoted by the UfM Secretariat, namely the Desalination Facility for the Gaza Strip, the Trans-Maghreb Motorway and some University projects. Mr Fabius shared the approach of the UfM and agreed on the necessary adoption of project’s ownership by countries from the two shores of the Mediterranean and on the need to strengthen the UfM’s activity in coordination with the EU policy in the region.
Mr Sijilmassi will take part next 29th and 30th August in the French Ambassadors’ Conference, where he will elaborate on the state of play of the UfM and the evolution and perspectives of cooperation in the Mediterranean region.
Opening Speech by the President François Holland (in French)
Déclaration du porte-parole du ministère des Affaires Étrangères (in French)
Press release by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Press release by Quotidien aufait (source: MAP)