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29 May, 2001
A council of agriculture ministers from 13 Mediterranean countries, all members of the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), is set for Athens on June 1, with sessions then shifting to Hania, Crete on June 2-3.
Greece's agriculture minister will chair the council's sessions, while Prime Minister Costas Simitis will receive the ministers participating in the council during a reception in Athens.
Among the topics up for discussion are Mediterranean cooperation for a viable agricultural sector and the promotion of the so-called "Mediterranean Diet", as well as agricultural policies within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and related negotiations.
Representatives from the European Commission and the rotating Swedish EU presidency will also attend the CIHEAM sessions as observers.
According to its website, CIHEAM is an intergovernmental organization with a regional Mediterranean vocation. It was founded in 1962 under the auspices of the OECD and the European Council. The center currently has 13 member-states: Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey. Additionally, Cyprus, Israel, Libya, Syria and Jordan have expressed an interest in joining the organization.
The objective of the center is to offer complementary economic and technical teaching and to encourage the spirit of international cooperation among the experts in agriculture of the Mediterranean countries.
CIHEAM is directed by a board of governors, comprised of one delegate from each member-state, from the OECD, the European Council and other international organizations such as FAO, EEC and AOAD.
Its general secretariat is headquartered in Paris, while four Mediterranean agronomic institutes are located in Bari, Hania, Montpellier and Zaragoza.
Source: Athens News Agency