Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, plans to attend a Mediterranean leaders’ conference despite threats from Egypt and Syria that they will boycott it in protest at his presence.
The conference, due to take place in Barcelona next month, is being held by the Union for the Mediterranean, an EU-sponsored initiative to promote good relations among Mediterranean countries.
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is also scheduled to attend the event, which is to be co-chaired by France and Egypt.
But Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar Assad have warned they will not attend if Mr Lieberman is present, although they have not voiced opposition to Israel’s participation.
The same conference in Istanbul in 2009 was cancelled after Egypt threatened a boycott for the same reason.
Mr Lieberman told Israel Radio that it would be “their problem” if the Arab states decided not to attend.
All 27 EU member states are scheduled to attend, alongside other Mediterranean countries including Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria and the Palestinian Authority.