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The Second Arab Economic Summit

(DP-News – Exclusive)

Sharm El- Sheikh, Egypt- The Second Arab Economic, Social and Development Summit on Wednesday resumed activities with the participation of several kings, presidents, princes and heads of the participating Arab delegations.

The Summit discussed means of intensifying the joint Arab work to face the economic challenges, in addition to combating poverty and unemployment through integrating joint Arab developmental efforts.

It also discussed means of pushing the comprehensive economic and social development forwards through linking land, sea and railway transportation, electricity connection and establishing networks for transferring gas and oil between the Arab countries.

Delivering Syria's speech at the Summit, Prime Minister Naji Otri said" I'm honored to represent President Bashar al-Assad in attending this Summit and to convey his greetings to his brothers, the leaders of the Arab countries and his wishes that this Summit would come up with resolutions and outcomes that would support the Arab solidarity and joint work to face the current challenges and to meet the aspirations of the Arab nations."

Heading the Syrian delegation to the Summit, Premier Otri said the Summit constitutes an important platform for activating and developing the economic cooperation and exploring the means of consolidating it to reach the highest levels in the best interests of the Arab nation and to serve the process of sustainable development in the Arab countries.

"Holding the Summit at a stage when the countries of the world are facing serious economic and financial crises stresses the determination of our countries to work together on alleviating the economic and financial repercussions and stopping the foreign interference in our economic affairs and the attempts of some parties to impose measures contradicting with the comprehensive development process which we seek to achieve in our countries," Otri said.

The Premier added" It is natural to say that the global financial crisis has affected our countries and wasted a huge part of the Arab money which must be allocated for the Arab investment projects which aim at achieving agricultural reform and the industrial modernization, in addition to supporting the small and medium-sized projects and financing the scientific studies and researches and other projects which serve the process of housing development as it forms the basis for the economic development process."

Otri underlined the importance of translating the Arab capabilities on the ground in an integrated manner to achieve the interests of the Arab countries, indicating that the inter-Arab trade doesn't exceed 12 percent of the total Arab trade in spite of completing the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) since 2005.

He indicated that the Arab countries need to achieve the economic integration through adopting an economic strategy and coordinating the Arab economic policies at the regional and international forums.

The Premier underlined the importance of the projects which have been proposed during the Summit, particularly the project of sea linking between the Arab countries that would effectively support the issue of increasing the inter-Arab trade and its competence.

He also highlighted the necessity of continuing the monetary and banking reform and diversifying the resources of growth, in addition to seeking to possess the modern technology that would form a solid basis for building a productive and effective Arab economy and to achieve a stronger and more secure economic reality.

"What has been achieved in the framework of the Arab economic cooperation and the provided facilitations have encouraged the Arab investments, and increased the volume of trade exchange, in addition to broadening the basis of inter-trade," Otri said.

He underlined the importance of the measures taken by Syria in this regard such as depending on businessmen card instead of the entry visa, calling upon the Arab countries to take such a measure to facilitate the movement of Arab businessmen and investors and to build strategic economic partnerships and development projects.

The Premier called for taking firm stances to face Israel's plots and expansionist attempts, and to stress adherence to the resolutions of the Arab summits and meetings related to boycotting Israel, in addition to enhancing the role of the boycott offices to boycott the Israeli products.

"Our solidarity with our brothers in Gaza Strip, who are facing an Israeli stifling siege, a systematic destruction for the infrastructure and the environmental and natural resources, imposes on all of us a pan-Arab commitment and moral duty to support the steadfastness of our brothers in the Strip," Otri said.

He underlined the necessity of achieving the Arab economic solidarity to face the sanctions imposed on some Arab countries to hinder their developmental steps and the progress of their economy.

He thanked the Arab Republic of Egypt for the efforts it exerted in hosting the Summit, and the efforts of the Arab League and all the technical and preparatory committees.

"I whish that the Summit and its resolutions would achieve a qualitative leap in the framework of the economic cooperation in the best interests of our societies and in a way that would support the plans of our countries and their developmental and social programs," Otri concluded.

For his part, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon underlined in a speech delivered by Helen Clarck, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme that the Arab countries have achieved a real progress in the Millennium development goals, particularly in education.

"The level of poverty and unemployment are still high… so we have to deal with population growth and realize social integration," Clarck added.

Several princes and heads of the participating Arab delegations delvered their speech during the Summit, they focused at Arab Countries cooperation and economical crisis.

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