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Preparations ongoing for third Afro-Arab summit in Kuwait

Nov. 17, 2013 10:13 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 18, 2013 3:51 P.M.)
KUWAIT CITY (Ma'an) -- Preparations for the third Afro-Arab summit, to be held for the first time outside Africa, are ongoing in Kuwait.

Foreign ministers of more than 60 African and Arab countries will attend the summit, a Ma'an reporter said Saturday.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, who has arrived in Kuwait, told Ma'an that the summit is of great importance to Palestine, as it is an opportunity to foster the status of statehood.

The summit, al-Maliki said, will release a special statement about Palestine and its economic conditions under occupation.

Palestine will benefit from other countries' experiences through joint projects, he added.

Palestinian ambassadors to Kuwait, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Tunisia joined the meeting of foreign ministers, which kicked off at 10 a.m. Sunday ahead of the two-day summit.

Syria is the only member country not participating in the summit.

President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to arrive Monday in Kuwait, a country that only began recognizing Palestinian Authority passports a few months ago.

Abbas will meet with Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah at the summit, and other Palestinian officials will hold meetings with officials from the participating countries, Palestinian Ambassador to Kuwait Rami Tahboub said.

African-Arab cooperation

The summit will be dedicated to supporting Arab and African economic cooperation and sustainable development.

Palestinian Ambassador to Tunisia Suleiman al-Harfi told Ma'an that Arab countries have been investing enormous amounts of money in Africa.

"The money Arab countries spend in Africa is more than what the UN, Europe, and the US spend there," al-Harfi said.

The main financial backers of such projects are the Kuwaiti fund, the UAE fund, the Qatari fund, and the Arab Development Bank. They spend billions of dollars on projects in Africa, al-Harfi said.

The summit, he added, will address the means and mechanisms to find applicable solutions to major problems in Africa such as migration, in addition to "terrorism" in countries like Kenya, Mali, Somalia, Niger, and Nigeria.
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