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EU, Mediterranean summit launches union, agrees on projects
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A summit of European Union (EU) and Mediterranean countries concluded Sunday with the approval of six cooperation projects as well as principles of the functioning of the Union for the Mediterranean, which was officially launched at the summit.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (C) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (R) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 13, 2008. Leaders of the European Union (EU) and countries around the Mediterranean gathered in Paris on Sunday to forge a union. (Xinhua Photo)

The leaders from all 27 EU member states and 16 North African, Middle East and Western Balkan countries agreed that a summit between them will take place every two years and that their foreign ministers will meet annually.

They approved six cooperation projects: the de-pollution of the Mediterranean, the building of maritime and coastal land highways, the fight against disasters, a solar energy program, an EU- Mediterranean university and a business development initiative.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who spearheaded the Union for the Mediterranean, boasted the summit meeting as a great success.

"It was an extraordinary gamble to bring together in the same room all the countries of Europe and the Mediterranean," he told reporters at the end of the summit.

"It was an extraordinary concept to imagine the Arab states represented at the highest level."

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