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EU, Mediterranean Leaders in Spain to Discuss Trade, Terrorism

The European Union and its Mediterranean neighbors begin talks in Spain Sunday focusing on trade and fighting terrorism.

Other topics to be discussed at the two-day conference in Barcelona include economic reform and illegal migration. Participants also hope to make progress in the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade zone by 2010.

Although billed as a summit, most leaders from North Africa and the Middle East are staying away due to a variety of domestic or regional reasons.

Of the 10 non-EU participants, only Turkey and the Palestinian Authority are sending their top leaders.

The leaders of Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Jordan are expected to be absent, but other top officials will represent them.

The Euro-Mediterranean partnership was launched 10 years ago to further cooperation in areas of mutual interest between EU states and southern Mediterranean nations.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.