Arab leaders renew economic unity pledge as summit comes to a close
January 23, 2013
RIYADH – Leaders of Arab countries have agreed to encourage inter-Arab investment, adopt the strategy to develop renewable energy applications and diversify energy sources, implement the Millennium Development Goals, improve the level of health services and disease control and ensure food and water security for the region.
These were mentioned in a communique dubbed the Riyadh Declaration issued at the conclusion of the two-day Arab Economic and Social Development Summit here Tuesday.
Reading out the communique, Arab League Secretary-General Dr. Nabil Al-Arabi said that the leaders stressed the importance of joint Arab initiatives to serve Arab citizens, raise the standards of their living and provide them with full health care.
In this context the leaders called for the convening of a forum for Arab youth in the Kingdom to discuss the priorities of the youth and find out mechanisms to create employment opportunities for them and provide opportunities of decent work.
They also stressed their determination to continue efforts to issue regulations and legislation so as to provide opportunities to women for social, economic and political participation.
The leaders welcomed the initiative of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for increasing the capital of common Arab financial institutions by at least 50 percent to meet the growing development needs.
The Riyadh summit adopted a unified agreement to invest capital in Arab countries (as amended) to conform with developments in the Arab, regional and international arenas, and provide the proper climate to increase the flow of inter-Arab investments. The Arab leaders also confirmed their commitment to create an investment climate in their countries and enact national laws and legislation to help attract more investments.
The summit also adopted the Arab strategy for the development of renewable energy applications (2010-2030) to meet the growing demand for energy, diversify its sources, meet the needs of sustainable development, open the way for the establishment of an Arab market for renewable energy, and work to provide new job opportunities with the active participation of the private sector.
The leaders reiterated their commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and support the efforts of least developed Arab countries to achieve those goals. They adopted the recommendations of the Arab Conference on Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals to crystallize an Arab vision that contributes to the development of the global vision of sustainable development objectives after 2015. They also pledged to improve the level of health care, paying more attention to the issue of noncommunicable diseases.
The Riyadh Declaration expressed full support for the process of Arab economic integration by increasing the volume of inter-Arab trade and the formation of an Arab solid economic grouping. The leaders affirmed their determination to complete the requirements for Greater Arab Free Trade before the end of 2013 and work to complete the rest of the requirements for the launch of the Arab Customs Union in accordance with the timeframe that has been agreed upon, leading to its full implementation by 2015.
The leaders directed the relevant bodies and organizations to speed up the implementation of the Emergency Program for Arab Food Security. They pledged to follow up on the implementation of the Strategy for Water Security in the Arab Region and Integrated Water Resource Management Project to meet the future challenges and requirements of water resources.
Overcome challenges through unity: Saudi King
January 22, 2013
RIYADH — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah urged Arab states to stand united so as to overcome challenges facing the Arab economy as well as to strive to further strengthen joint Arab work.
In his speech, read out on his behalf by Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, at the opening session of the 3rd Arab Economic and Social Development Summit here Monday evening, King Abdullah said that developmental issues of Arab states have become tougher and complicated because of several major problems such as poverty, unemployment and diseases. It requires exerting all efforts and spending in the best possible manner to confront and address these problems, the King said, stressing the need for strengthening joint Arab work and implementing inter-Arab projects.
King Abdullah called for increasing capitals of Arab financial organizations and Arab joint venture companies by 50 percent in order to finance Arab development projects and expand their activities. The King announced Saudi Arabia’s willingness to contribute its share for this increase provided there is an agreement in this respect.
King Abdullah also emphasized the need for exerting all efforts to remove hurdles that impede the functioning of the Arab private sector and create appropriate environment to encourage flow of investments in member countries.
In this regard, the King urged to approve the unified agreement for the Arab capital investment, the draft of which was presented to the summit.
The King called upon the Arab leaders to complete the requirements for establishing the Great Arab Free Trade Zone before the end of this year. He also welcomed the initiative to support inter-Arab trade launched by the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation to enhance trade exchange among the Arab states.
The opening session of the two-day summit began at King Abdulaziz International Conference Center with the speech of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in his capacity as the president of the second Economic Summit. While stressing the significance of formulating guidelines and economic policies to realize the goals and aspirations of the Arab states, he called for accelerating efforts to establish common Arab market.
Morsi noted that the summit is being held at a time when the Arab Ummah is passing through a crucial phase. He specially noted the great changes that took place in Egypt after the January 25 Revolution. “Egypt looks forward to cooperate with other Arab states to confront the common challenges and take advantage of the available opportunities to realize their aspirations toward economic integration,” he said.
Earlier upon arrival at the venue, leaders and heads of delegations were received by Crown Prince Salman. They included Sudanese President Omar Bashir, President of Tunisia Moncef Marzouki, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of Comoros Ikililou Dhoinine, Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh, and Libyan First Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Al-Siddiq Abdulkarim Abdulrahman Karim. Iraq sent its Vice President Khudair Bin Mousa Al-Khuzai to attend the summit while Oman’s Sultan Qaboos Bin Said was represented by his adviser Shihab Bin Tareq Al-Said.