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Union of Arab Maghreb (UMA)

2000/11/15
The Union of Arab Maghreb(UMA) was established in Feb.1989, with Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania as its members. It aims to strengthen the economic cooperation among the countries, to realize economic integration under the prerequisite of respecting every member country's political, economic and social system; to coordinate stand in the fields of foreign affairs and national defense, in order to safeguard the region's interests and realize the Arab unity. The highest authority is the committee of the heads of state. A regular meeting is held once a year. The head of every state serves as the executive chairman in rotation. The term of office is one year. Other important institutions are foreign minister's council, permanent secretariat, consultative committee, etc. It maintains a relationship of dialogue with France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Malta (called"5 plus 5" meeting).

Six meetings of heads of state have been held from the time the League was established to the year 1994. Certain headway has been made on the course of regional integration. A program of alliance action has been adopted, which set the development strategy of realizing customs union in 1995 and establishing a economic common market in 2000. Many cooperation agreements on political, economic, social, cultural items have been signed. But owing to many problems still yet to be resolved the activities of UMA came to a standstill since 1995 and no meeting of heads of state has been held from then on.

Although the development of UMA has been slow, every member state realizes that only by uniting and exerting themselves can they deal with the challenge of a drastically changed international situation. So none of them wants to give up the union. In Feb. 1998, at the time of the ninth anniversary of UMA's establishment, heads of member states exchanged messages of congratulations. In May 1999, the follow-up committee of UMA held its 35th session in Algeria, which decided to hold the 18th session of the foreign ministers' council in October and the 7th summit conference of UMA in Algeria at the end of the year. However, the two meetings have not been convened yet so far, The 19th Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Arab Magreb Union was held in Algiers in 2002.

China and UMA states maintain friendly relations. China appreciates the UMA states in their efforts to seek unity, regional peace, stability and development. We hope that UMA can play a further role in safeguarding the interests of member states and the region, in promoting the regions' stability and prosperity. China is willing to establish and develop friendly relations and cooperation with UMA on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
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