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    The Arab League began a four-day conference on Monday (25 March) in Tunis. Fifteen of?

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    The Arab League began a four-day conference on Monday (25 March) in Tunis. Fifteen of the twenty member-nations present are represented by their Foreign Minister. they have gathered to discuss the Middle East situation and future relations with Europe and the developing nations.

    During Monday's opening session, there were appeals for closer co-operation with European countries to guarantee security and the economic development of the Mediterranean region. tunisia's Foreign Minister, Habib Chatti, said an exchange of ideas between Arab and european countries was indispensable to co-operation.

    Shortly after the opening session, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Arab League Said Nawfal, announced that Tunisia and Jordan had agreed to restore diplomatic relations broken last year following a speech by President Bourguiba critical of Jordan.

    Another task for the Foreign Minsters is the setting of a date for the next Arab Summit Conference. On Wednesday night (27 March) there were reports from Tunis that there had been differences among the delegates over the date which was fixed by the last summit in Algiers and Cairo in April. Sources at the Conference indicated that Syria has been lobbying delegations for an early date for the conference to reaffirm Arab unity. Syria wants support because it is preparing for crucial talks with Israel over disengagement in the Golan Heights.

    Egypt first to fall suggested that the conference be postponed until September and backed a Moroccan proposal that it be held in Rabat. However, Egypt's Foreign Minister, Ismail Fahmy, later said his country was ready for an Arab Summit Conference at an early date at Syria's insistence.

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