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Arab League to open liaison centre in Malta

The Arab League would establish a liaison centre in Malta to guarantee a long-term relationship and develop Arabic translation, the EU Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, was quoted as saying by the Kuwait News Agency.

She was speaking in Cairo where former Foreign Minister Michael Frendo was special guest of the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, at a joint European Commission-Arab League cultural event at the historic Cairo Opera House. The event was jointly hosted with Ms Ferrero-Waldner and the Anna Lindh Foundation.

Both Mr Moussa and Ms Ferrero-Waldner said the idea of the event developed as a result of the Malta initiative that led to the first ministerial meeting in Malta on February 11-12, 2008. They described the Malta meeting as "a cornerstone for enhanced Euro-Arab relations", adopting a platform to develop further avenues of cooperation between the League of Arab States and its member states and the EU and its member states.

Mr Moussa thanked Dr Frendo for the Malta initiative "for which he worked so hard and which he successfully achieved with great success". He said the Malta initiative "has come to complement the Union for the Mediterranean".

Ms Ferrero-Waldner said the Cairo event reflected "our common appreciation of the growing partnership between Arab and European countries and their peoples".

Together with Mr Moussa, she signed an EU-Arab League Memorandum of Understanding to launch cooperation at various levels. This MOU was concluded as a result of the structured dialogue that continued between the European Commission and the Arab League Secretariat following the Malta meeting, the first-ever meeting of the Foreign Ministers of both organisations together with the Commission, the Council and the Arab League Secretariat in the history of the organisations.

Dr Frendo, chairman of the Foreign and European Affairs Committee of the Maltese Parliament, met Mr Musa at the headquarters of the Arab League. He also had talks with a number of Arab Foreign Ministers who expressed their appreciation for last year's meeting held in Malta and which, they noted, had long-term beneficial effects bringing together in partnership the EU and the Arab World, providing a continuous medium for dialogue and cooperation contributing to greater understanding and stability.

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