The UfM, formerly known as the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, is a regional initiative between the European Union and 12 Mediterranean countries, including Israel, largely aimed at depollution of the Mediterranean Sea. It is based on the concepts of political dialogue, development of economic and financial cooperation, and emphasis on social, cultural, and human dimension.
During the meeting, Peretz and the environment ministers of Greece and Cyprus agreed on a Declaration of Intent, to preceed the signing of a tripartite agreement on environmental cooperation next month. The environmental cooperation will focus on prevention of pollution in the Mediterranean as a result of economic activities and natural gas drilling. One of the goals is the establishment of a joint force to protect against, and/or deal with, environmental marine crises such as oil spills.
During a discussion on Mediterranean pollution at the conference, Peretz explained why Israel must work with its neighbors. "As someone who believes in peace I am disappointed by the current crisis in terms of talks with the Palestinians. Our real test is to find solutions, and not to lay blame. We share a sea, and our neighbors will remain our neighbors. Therefore we must find a way to live together, country beside country. Establishment of a Palestinian country is not just in the interest of Israel and the Palestinians; it is also in the interest of all countries taking part in this conference. It is up to the countries in this region to unite so that our extensive economic activities in the Mediterranean region will become a lever for cooperation aimed at peace and environmental benefits."
Jordanian Environment Minister Dr. Taher al Shakhshi welcomed Peretz’s comments, and reinforced the idea that peace and regional cooperation are necessary, as well as the idea of two States for two Peoples.