European Union foreign ministers and those from countries bordering the Mediterranean have arrived in Paris for today’s summit. Later, the gathering will be officially opened as leaders of the participating states begin to grapple with a wide-ranging agenda.
France has been key in promoting this new organisation which intends to revitalise co-operation between the two regions, pursuing practical projects such as tackling pollution with EU and private sector funding.
According to the French government, progress has already been made after President Nicolas Sarkozy hosted talks yesterday between Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanese President Michel Suleiman.
In what he described as a diplomatic breakthrough, Sarkozy said the two Arab countries would open embassies in each others capitals – something not seen for more than 60 years.
With many of the world’s leaders in town, security in the French capital is obviously tight. One much- anticipated moment will be when Israel’s prime minister, who is among those attending the talks, sits in the same room as a Syrian leader.