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Forum promotes co-op links with Arab nations
Updated: 2004-09-15 23:38

China and Arab countries signed a joint declaration and an action plan for the Sino-Arab Co-operation Forum (SACF) on Tuesday.

According to a press release issued by the Arab League (AL) Secretariat, the two documents were signed by AL Secretary General Amr Moussa and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing during a ministerial meeting of the SACF.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (centre), Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa (right) and Mauritanian Foreign Minister Mohamed Vall Ould Bellal at a press conference on Tuesday (local time) after signing a joint declaration and an action plan for the Sino-Arab Cooperation Forum. [Xinhua]

In order to strengthen friendship and co-operation between the Arab countries and China, the SACF held its first ministerial meeting on Tuesday at the AL premises in Cairo, which was also attended by the foreign ministers of Arab countries, said the press release.

The two sides believed that the SACF would be a new instrument for enhancing multilateral dialogue and co-operation between China and the Arab countries, it added.

The SACF joint declaration and the action plan aim to enrich Sino-Arab relations and strengthen co-operation in an all-round way, said the press release.

It noted that the Chinese and Arab foreign ministers exchanged in-depth views in a cordial way on co-operative relations between China and the Arab countries in the new era and how to set up an effective co-operation forum.

"The two sides reiterated their determination to support each other in regard to safeguarding independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity," it said.

According to the press release, China supports the Arab countries' legitimate rights and national interests. Meanwhile, the Arab countries reaffirmed their commitment to the one-China policy.

"The two sides will adopt positive steps to develop Arab-China co-operation in the economy, trade, investment, electricity, culture, mass media and human resources sectors with a view to achieving common development for both sides, it said.

"The two sides underscored the importance of broader co-operation and co-ordination and the necessity of maintaining world peace and stability," it added.

The Chinese foreign minister arrived here on Sunday evening for a three-day visit to Egypt, which is the last stop of his current Mideast trip, which also took him to Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the forum, Li said the Arab world was an important force in the international arena, and China and Arab countries enjoyed a time-honoured friendship.

"Similar histories, common objectives and wide-ranging shared interests have enabled the two sides to strengthen co-operation," he said.

Recalling Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the AL headquarters in January , Li said during Hu's trip, the two sides announced the establishment of the forum, and such a forum was the continuation of traditional friendship between China and the Arab world and an important move to promote bilateral ties under new circumstances.

He expressed his belief that the establishment of the forum would be conducive to expanding bilateral co-operation in a variety of fields.

"China has put forward four proposals. First, adhering to mutual respect, treating each other on an equal footing and sincere co-operation on the political front. Second, promoting economic and trade ties through co-operation in the areas of investment, trade, contracted projects, labour service, energy, transportation, telecommunications, agriculture, environmental protection and information. Third, expanding cultural exchanges. Finally, carrying out personnel training courses," he said.

"No matter how the international situation changes, China has always been the sincere friend of the Arab world," he stressed.

"I believe that the forum, through joint efforts, will help promote bilateral co-operation and benefit both sides," he said.

Arab foreign ministers who attended the forum shared the same view that the formal inauguration of the forum was a big event in the history of the Arab ties with China.

During the forum, they raised various proposals on how to promote Sino-Arab friendship and co-operation, as well as make the forum a success.

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