The Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce avoided a potentially embarrassing confrontation with a number of European chambers of commerce when delaying "indefinitely" the second ArchiMedes conference of the Euro-Mediterranean (Euromed), which was scheduled to be held in Cairo on January 22-23.
The situation arose from the Egyptian federation’s refusal to extend an invitation to the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, which is also a member of the Euromed partnership. In explaining its decision, the Egyptian organization said that it had a firm policy of not dealing with any Israeli governmental or non-governmental organizations until Israel ends its occupation of Arab lands and complies with UN Security Council resolutions.
At a press conference in Cairo, the UCC President Khaled Abu Ismail said that his organization had informed the various European and Arab chambers of commerce of the decision. The Europeans expressed understanding, he said.
Sources tell Abawaba-MEBG that initially the Egyptians were not keen to cancel the conference. But when they notified Eurochambres, the umbrella organization of European Chambers of Commerce, about their opposition to Israeli participation at the Cairo conference, the Europeans informed them it was not up to Egypt to decide who could or could not be invited. As a result, the Egyptians decided to postpone the entire event.
The EuroMed partnership comprises 15 European Community countries and 12 countries from the southern and eastern Mediterranean regions. It was launched in Barcelona, Spain, in 1995. One of the organization's main goals is the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area (FTA), proposed in the Barcelona Deceleration of 1995. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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