By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 29 May 2014:
The Foreign Ministers of ten Western Mediterranean countries gathered in Lisbon on 22 May for . . .[restrict]the 12th Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers of the 5+5 group comprising five western European Mediterranean states and the five Arab Maghreb states.
Foreign Ministers from Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Portugal, Spain, France, Malta and Italy all attended the meetings that focused on opportunities for cooperation.
During sessions they focused on common challenges such as security and stability, social and economic sustainable development, and climate change. According to the official press release, during the meetings the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) was praised for its cooperation in implementation of projects and for its contribution to development in the region.
Secretary General to the UfM Fathallah Sijilmassi was present to hold meetings with the various Foreign Ministers who attended.
At the same time, the 2nd Economic Business Forum of the Western Mediterranean, also under the umbrella of the 5+5 Dialogue and held in Lisbon, was attended by 400 business leaders and representatives of economic institutions from the ten nations.
The theme of the business forum was sustainable development, specifically focusing on water, environment, infrastructure and financing. The keynote speaker was Deputy Prime Minister of Portugal Paulo Portas. Fathallah also spoke, stating that the UfM seeks to foster coordination of efforts for the sake of development in the region. He affirmed the 5+5 Dialogue as an illustration of the kind of cooperation the UfM wished to promote.
Portugal’s ambassador to Libya Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa had revealed that “the format has been successful”, speaking earlier this month to a gathering of Libyan journalists in Tripoli
She also pointed out to that a Portuguese-Libyan Business Association that had already been established earlier this year as further evidence of further cooperation. “There is a feeling that cooperation in between the North African states is still at a primary level, and it is hoped that this cooperation between these neighbours can increase”, explained the Portuguese ambassador.
The 5+5 Dialogue, officially The Forum for the Dialogue in the Western Mediterranean, is an informal political forum created in 1990 with the stated aim of reinforcing and enriching political, economic and cultural dialogue amongst Western Mediterranean nations. [/restrict]