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On 5 April 2005, Jean Asselborn, Minister for Foreign Affairs and current President of the Council of the European Union, will co-chair the 15th Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting between the European Union and the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Bahrain.
During the meeting, the two sides are expected to examine the state of negotiations on a free trade agreement between the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The European Union also wishes to strengthen its cooperation with the Gulf region on the political, economic and social level and within the framework of the Strategic Partnership with the Mediterranean and the Middle East, which was adopted by the European Council in June 2004.
Alongside bilateral issues, the agenda for the Ministerial Meeting includes a number of topical international subjects: the fight against terrorism, human rights and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The Ministers will also exchange views on current events in the Middle East, in particular with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Iran and Iraq.
In preparation of this Ministerial Meeting, Jean Asselborn met on 4 April with his counterpart Sheik Mohammad bin Mubarak al Khalifa, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain.
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