Union for the Mediterranean boss quits (Roundup)
Jan 26, 2011, 13:08 GMT
Barcelona - The secretary general of the Union for the Mediterranean announced his resignation Wednesday, blaming a lack of financial resources for the 43-country partnership, sources of the union's secretariat said.
Ahmad Khalef Masadeh of Jordan said he had informed the group's member countries of his decision to step down.
He cited 'difficult circumstances' and said the 'general conditions' of his job had changed.
Masadeh was the first secretary general of the Barcelona-based union, a multilateral partnership that encompasses countries from Europe and the Mediterranean basin, and was the pet project of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The functioning of the organization has been hampered by disagreements between Israel and Arab countries, which prevented a summit from being held last year.
However, the sources said Masadeh did not resign over these tensions, but over a lack of financial resources to carry out projects.
Some northern European countries did not feel really engaged in the process and had not met their financial pledges, the sources complained.
The Union for the Mediterranean had planned projects in areas such as reducing pollution in the Mediterranean, renewable energies and creating a Euro-Mediterranean university.
The Union for the Mediterranean comprises 27 member states of the European Union and 16 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans.
It was launched in July 2008 on the initiative of Sarkozy, as a relaunch of the former Euro-Mediterranean Barcelona Process, with the goal of promoting stability and prosperity in the Mediterranean region.
A secretariat was established in Barcelona, north-eastern Spain, where Masadeh took office on January 12, 2010.
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