As would be expected, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharón, yesterday expressed his apprehension over this weekend's meeting of his Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in Majorca. However, organisers and sponsors of the third Formentor Euro-Mediterranean meeting were upbeat about Arafat and Peres both attending the talks along with this year's guest of honour, the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak. Peres will arrive in Majorca tomorrow carrying his new peace initiative which, while he and Arafat will not “negotiate” they will discuss it. Director of the Foro Formentor meeting, Raimunda Bassols explained that as the annual gathering of “politicians, intellectuals, academics and economists is a privately sponsored event, we do not expect politicians to negotiate and reach conclusions. “What we provide is a setting for them to meet and talk freely in a liberal environment about their problems and ideas for solving them.” Sponsored by the Fundación Repsol YPF, the focal point of the meeting will be Saturday's morning's addresses by Arafat and Peres with both explaining the latest developments in the Middle East peace process and in which direction the process is going. The theme of this year's meeting is “The Euro-Mediterranean project ahead of European Union expansion.”

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