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Barcelona Chosen as Headquarters for Mediterranean Union


European foreign ministers meeting in France have agreed that Barcelona will become the headquarters of the fledgling Mediterranean Union.

The decision came Tuesday, as ministers from 43 Mediterranean rim member-countries sought to break a four-month deadlock over administrative, diplomatic and funding issues.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country chairs the rotating EU presidency, unveiled his blueprint for the new union in July in Paris.

Organizers described the project as a move to breathe new life into an existing EU-Mediterranean partnership, by creating a more equal dialogue between wealthy European nations and many poorer countries of the Mediterranean rim.

Member-countries agreed at the inaugural summit on a number of modest goals, including solar energy projects and joint initiatives to clean up the Mediterranean Sea.

However, disagreements arose over Arab objections to proposed language in a joint communiqué that described Israel as "the state of the Jewish people."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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