Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja will participate in a foreign minister meeting between the European Union and the Arab League (League of Arab States) in Cairo on 13 November. The EU and the Arab League have met at the foreign ministerial level once before, in Malta in 2008.
The purpose of the Cairo meeting is to enhance the cooperation between the EU and the member states of the Arab League. The societal change that began in the Arab world at the beginning of 2011 has opened up new opportunities for cooperation. The foreign ministers will discuss, for example, the situation of the Middle East in the light of recent developments.
In the meeting, the representatives of the European Union will include the foreign ministers of the Member States as well as High Representative Catherine Ashton. The Arab League will be represented by the foreign ministers of the member states and the Chairman of the Ministerial Council of the League of Arab States, Foreign Minister of Lebanon Adnan Mansour, and Secretary-General of the League Nabil El Araby.
The Arab League is an intergovernmental cooperation organisation with 22 member states. Its highest decision-making body is the council that convenes twice a year. The heads-of-state of the member states assemble once a year for a summit, chaired by the country hosting the meeting at the time. The latest summit was held in March 2012 in Baghdad, Iraq.
The Arab League Secretariat is located in Cairo. The present Secretary-General Nabil El Araby was elected to the position in July 2011. Before that, he served as Foreign Minister of Egypt for a little while. Foreign Minister Tuomioja met Secretary-General El Araby when he visited Cairo in November 2011.
Finland holds an observer status in the Arab League.
Additional information: Risto Veltheim, Ambassador, tel. +358 40 748 2697; and Krista Napola, Diplomatic Adviser to the Foreign Minister, tel. +358 40 590 7973