Ping says revamped Afro-Arab ties to bolster peace, security

Sharm El Sheikh- Egypt (PANA) -- Africa is to revive its partnership with the Ara b states in a bid to improve political integration which would foster urgent sol u tions to the crises facing Sudan and Somalia, African Union (AU) Commission Pres i dent Jean Ping said here.
African leaders due to meet at an Egyptian resort here Sunday to discuss a wide array of topics, from access to water to conflict and the welfare of the African child, have slated discussions on ways of reviving the political cooperation bet w een Africa and the Arabs.
The talks on the revival of the Arab-African relations, which is toping the agen da of the AU heads of state assembly here, would discuss the formation of a join t Peace and Security Council between Africa and the Arab world.
"We need to activate the Arab-Africa relations because it is African countries w hich form about 70 per cent of the entire population of the Arab world.
African s tates are powerful, by forming a joint security council, we can cool the tempers in the conflict areas," Ping said.
He said the revival of the Afro-Arab ties would be of economic benefit to Africa , given the growing economic prosperity of the Arab world, which remains critica l to Africa's economic survival.
Ping, a former top civil servant with the United Nations who rose to become Gabo n's Deputy Prime Minister, said the talks with the Arab League were currently fo c using on the formation of the joint peace and Security Councils, of which Africa would benefit.
"We have problems in Sudan and Somalia.
These countries are members of the Arab League and we think the joint peace and Security Council of our regions would as s ist us in trying to find the political solutions to the problems in those countr i es," Ping said.
The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa remains the most vibrant source of the Arab-Africa relations, which was active in the 1970s.
The AU notes that some of the institutions formed during the life of the coopera tion like the Arab Bank, the Afro-Arab Cultural Institute and the Afro-Arab Trad e Fair have remained permanent features in Africa's economic, social and politica l development.
"The joint peace and security council could help cool the tempers in this (Horn of Africa) region," Ping told journalists here on the sidelines of the of the Ex e cutive Council meeting, which kicked off here Friday 27-28 June.
Talks on revival of the Arab-Africa relations kicked off this year in January.
A t a joint meeting of the Arab League and the AU, the two institutions resolved t o facilitate the holding of the second Afro-Arab Summit.
Ping emphasised that the holding of the Summit would spur Africa's economic deve lopment and help attract new investments into the African continent.
"The ties between these regions (Africa-Arab) are economic.
We should encourage the Arab world to invest in Africa, that is why we have the intention of meeting to reactivate our ties," Ping told journalists.

28 june 2008 08:39:00




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