MARSEILLE, France: The headquarters for a proposed new union of Mediterranean countries will be located in the Spanish port city of Barcelona, an official said Tuesday.
Malta, the island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, had been among the other candidates, but Barcelona had appeal as the site where earlier European Union initiatives for the Mediterranean had been launched.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Tuesday that Barcelona, which lies on the Mediterranean coast, will host the headquarters.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy launched the so-called Union for the Mediterranean of 43 nations in July as a forum for tighter regional cooperation.
Officials are continuing to work out how the new organization, which will encompass countries from Europe to the Middle East and north Africa, will be structured.
Other issues on the table were proving more divisive than the location of the headquarters. They include the role the role of the 22-member Arab League. France expressed confidence that a deal would emerge.
Delegates said the package being debated included recommendations that the Arab League be included in all meetings, that the general secretary be chosen from a northern African or Middle Eastern country and that France and Egypt co-chair the rotating presidency for the first two years. Delegates from several nations spoke on condition of anonymity because the recommendations had not yet won full approval.