24 November 2012

Tunisia: Maghreb Countries' Integration Rate Does Not Exceed Two Percent - President Marzouki

Tunis — President Moncef Marzouki said that the integration rate of the Arab Maghreb countries has not gone above 2%, while the European countries' reached 80%.

In an address at the opening of the conference on "Great Arab Maghreb, Joint Development for Common Future," held on Saturday at Dar Dhiafa, in Carthage, the President of the Republic said that the Maghreb region, bound as it is by history, geography, language and religion, has not achieved the hoped-for integration.

He called for the implementation of mechanisms that would help overcome the obstacles which have so far slowed down this integration.

For its part, Mr. Marzouki added, Tunisia would carry on its quest for Maghreb unity, by means of consultation with the different sides, and attempt to strengthen ties with its neighbours, especially Libya.

In turn, Libya's General National Congress President Mohamed Youssef El-Megaryef pointed out that "without the Tunisian Revolution's success, Libya's could not have triumphed," explaining that the joint will to consecrate real integration among the Maghreb countries shows the extent to which changes have taken thanks to the two countries' revolutions.

Mr. El-Megaryef added that building of the Great Arab Maghreb is "indispensable for our peoples' progress," calling to materialise the idea of the Maghreb union on the popular and institutional levels, before concretising it at the governmental level.

"Holding of this conference, the interest shown in the Maghreb development and means for promoting it all represent a step on the path of creating a real Maghreb union," Mr. El-Megaryef underlined.

The conference, organised at the initiative of the Maghreb Development Centre, in association with the Tunisian Strategic Studies Institute, was marked by the participation of experts, academics and specialists in development sectors, as well as a group of expatriate Maghreb businessmen.

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