EU, Arab League FMs discuss economic, political cooperation

European Union and Arab League foreign ministers on Monday held their first talks designed to widen cooperation between Western Europe and its Islamic neighbors around the Mediterranean. Before the two days of talks in the Maltese capital of Valetta, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said she would stress economic and political cooperation and the intercultural dialogue between Europe and Islamic nations "that has become a defining issue of this decade." She told The Associated Press in a telephone interview she hoped to interest the Arab League in obtaining election observation know-how and cooperation in economic areas. "This is a critical issue for domestic and foreign investors" in the Arab world, she added.