Menu JTA Search

E.c. Ministers to Meet This Month with Arab League States and PLO

A French effort to revive the long moribund Euro-Arab dialogue appears to be succeeding, despite objection from some of France’s European Community partners.

The foreign ministers of the 12 E.C. nations and the 22 Arab League countries will convene in Paris on Dec. 22, along with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The meeting will be hosted by France, which currently chairs the E.C. Council of Ministers.

Such a meeting was proposed last month by French President Francois Mitterrand, in an address to a session of the European Parliament, the E.C.’s legislative body. He coupled his proposal with harsh criticism of Israeli policies.

However, some E.C. countries think the time is not ripe for such a high-level meeting.

Britain, in particular, has expressed reservations. Several sources here have hinted that London will send officials of less than ministerial rank to the Paris meeting to show its displeasure.

European-Arab political dialogue has been static for some years, partly because of European suspicions that certain Arab countries were abetting international terrorism.

Britain took the lead four years ago by leveling such charges against Libya and Syria, both Arab League member states, and isolating them diplomatically and economically.

Libya is threatening to break relations with any Arab country that participates in the dialogue, as long as Libya and Syria are blacklisted and boycotted by the European countries.

NEXT STORY