MENAFN - Arab Times
Kuwait- Leaders arrive, raise Summit expectations
(MENAFN - Arab Times) GCC Secretary General Abdullatif Al-Zayani Monday underscored importance of the First Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit, due in Kuwait Tuesday, because it would mark a new phase in relations between Asian countries and a qualitative leap to boosting cooperation between them.
Al-Zayani, speaking to KUNA here, praised the "wise vision" of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who called for hosting the ACD Summit.
His Highness the Amir has always showed keenness to further cement relations among Asian countries in a way that will honor aspirations of the Asian people towards more progress, development and prosperity, said chief of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Kuwait's hosting of this "important summit," was a clear evidence of the country's leading role in the regional and international arenas.
Cooperation among Asian countries if multi-faceted, he added, should be further developed in line with a strategic vision which would ultimately upgrade economic and commercial collaboration.
Al-Zayani commended the Kuwaiti government's organization of the two-day summit, and hoped it would have a fruitful outcome.
Two Kuwaiti ministers said that the senior-level representation at the First Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit was a sign that there would be a lot of interaction and reflects the importance of the event.
While receiving visiting heads of state and leading officials for the ACD Summit at Kuwait International Airport on Monday they noted the event's importance on the economic, social, cultural, environmental and technological fields in particular.
"The hosting of a summit of this kind in Kuwait for the first time illustrates Kuwait's position among members of the body and Kuwait's ability to manage diverse thought and cultures," Minister of Information Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah said.
The summit achieves a dream that HH the Amir of Kuwait has long had, before he proposed its inception, on Tuesday, at earlier meetings.
The talks will be held in a relaxed atmosphere, he stressed, and will result in decisions that benefit their nations in strategic fields like health, energy, housing, fighting poverty and disease, he added.
For his part, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister for Housing Affairs Anas Al-Saleh described the event as "extremely important", especially as Kuwait plans to transform itself into an international commercial and financial centre, while coordinating with continental powerhouses like China and South Korea.
The minister revealed that he would be holding bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit with a number of his Asian counterparts and commercial sector representatives that could benifit the region as a whole.
Al-Saleh was of the hope that the summit would do much to improve coordination, remove obstacles and increase commmercial cooperation between countries in the continent.
He went on to welcome visiting delegations, adding that the people of Kuwait are proud to be hosting the big event in their country.
During its weekly meeting at the Bayan Palace on Sunday evening, the Kuwaiti cabinet reviewed the final preparations for the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit.
The meeting, presided over by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, was briefed by Minister of Information and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah on the outcome of the preparatory minister-level meetings for summit, including the agenda of the continental gathering.
"HH the Amir will open the historic summit on Tuesday," Minister of Information and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad told reporters after the cabinet meeting.
Led by HH the Amir, the Kuwaiti delegation to the summit includes HH the Prime Minister; the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs; Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs; Minister of Information; Minister of Finance; Minister of Education, Minister of Higher Education and acting Minister of Commerce and Industry; and Minister of Oil as well as other senior officials.
"The cabinet members appreciated the efforts made by the various state departments to ensure the success of the summit meeting and voiced hope that the summit will reach results that could meet the aspirations of the Asian nations in all political and economic fields," Sheikh Mohammad pointed out.
"The meeting was also briefed on the message received by HH the Amir from Secretary-General of Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) Najib Saab on the Arab preparations for the World Climate Summit, due in Doha, Qatar, between November 26 and December 7, 2012," the minister disclosed.
The cabinet members discussed a number of recommendations developed by the economic affairs committee on draft balance sheets of several state departments for the FY 2011-2012 as well as Kuwait's planned contribution to the capital of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB.
"The cabinet approved a recommendation by the Ministry of Finance and Industry to open the education and training domain for foreign investors," Sheikh Mohammad announced.
He added that the move aims to add significance to the Kuwaiti economic sector and tap into the potentials of foreign experience in the educational domain.
Kuwaiti Minister of Oil Hani Hussain expects oil prices to remain "stable or just under the current level" over the next five years in the wake of "active and increasing" consumption in Asia.
"We hope prices do not witness a huge drop in the next five years, he said, adding that several nations have a huge production capacity, which if increased could affect prices. The minister told KUNA while welcoming heads of state and senior officials for the first Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit at Kuwait International Airport on Monday.
"Asia is a huge consumer of crude and petroleum derivatives", he said, referring to the importance of the continent as an important market for Kuwaiti exports as "they import 65pct of our production." The minister views that consumption in western nations " Europe and the US " could remain as it is or could drop "to a certain degree." On the importance of the summit of 32 Asian nations Kuwait will be hosting over the next few days, he noted to the large economic growth nations like China and India are currently witnessing as Kuwait "has very large and important projects in both Vietnam and China, in addition to our large commercial ties with other Asian countries." These ties include Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) offices tasked with marketing in China, India, Japan, South Korea and Pakistan in addition to excavation and crude production operations in Indonesia, China and Malaysia.
The Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) summit in Kuwait is vital to develop cooperation amongst Asian nations, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) Rima Khalaf said here Monday.
Khalaf, who would represent UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon during the dialogue, told KUNA that the ACD would hopefully increase cooperation amongst Asian nations and hopefully figure out the key issues obstructing attempts for bolstering ties.
She thanked Kuwait and its leadership for the initiative to hold such an integral event would boost cooperation amongst members of organizations such as ASEAN, SAARC and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
A host of Arab and Asian journalists praised on Monday preparations by the Kuwaiti Information Ministry and the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) organizing committee, which have contributed in providing a better coverage for the major event.
The preparations gave foreign correspondents the liberty to cover the event in a professional manner, senior correspondent of the Japanese national news agency (Kyodo), Nobuhisa Degawa told KUNA.
The gathering is getting the attention of Japanese media outlets, especially news about mutual cooperation and deliberations among member states, Degawa noted.
On her part, Pham Hang, correspondent of the Vietnamese News Agency, said that the ACD media center is fully-equipped, underlining "honestly, the level of organization is superb." Vietnamese media is anticipating the opening of the Summit, slated for Tuesday, as its outcomes and recommendations are of significance to Vietnam; an ambitious and development-driven Asian country, Hang added.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Omani Journalists' Society Awadh Bin Saeed termed ACD a "major and excellent step" and an "important initiative" that adheres to changes currently being witnessed in Asia.
He pointed out that major economic powers in Asia, like China, Japan and South Korea, in addition to the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, are contributing in the establishment of an important partnership in the Asian continent.
"These human resources must be invested in a bid to establish an Asian entity," he noted.
Mustafa Al-Dabbas, editor-in-chief of the US-based Arabic language newspaper of Al-Raya, told KUNA that Asia needs this kind of initiatives in order for peace to prevail in the region, hoping for more cooperation that would solidify the Continent's economic and political statuses.
Last night, Kuwait Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah inaugurated the media center in Ar-Raya Hall.
Information Undersecretary Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah said Monday around 100 journalists from around the world were in Kuwait to cover the summit.
Speaking to KUNA, Sheikh Salman said a large number of media persons from the visual and audio media from Asia flocked to Kuwait to cover the ACD Summit, in addition to local media.
He said preparations and organization for the ACD Summit has consumed a lot of efforts and time to make sure outcome of meetings was successful.
Sheikh Salman said the government of Kuwait was keen on offering all facilities to journalists to ensure smooth coverage.
He said there would be a press center in Bayan Palance, the venue of the ACD Summit, which would be opened shortly.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will travel to Azerbaijan and Kuwait, announced the head of his international office Mohammad Reza Forghani.
In an interview with ISNA, he said, the president will make a speech at the 12th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) summit to be held in Azerbaijan Republic on October 15th and Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) held in Kuwait on October 16th and 17th.
Ahmadinejad will explain Iran's point of view about cooperation development between ECO's members, he added.
The president will also hold talks with leaders of participating countries on the sidelines of the summit.
The head of president's international affairs office emphasized that following the summit; Ahmadinejad will attend and make a speech at the summit of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) in Kuwait, in order to present Tehran's approaches for strengthening and expanding cooperation among Asian countries.
Head of the Diplomatic Center for Strategic Studies Dr Abdullah Al-Bishara, said Monday that Gulf security is a critical element in ensuring energy supplies to the most important economic region in the world, "represented by the Asian tigers' economies." In an interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) on the sidelines of the first Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) summit here, Al-Bishara said "I brought two letters to Asia, the first to look eastward and move towards the East, as it never moved away during its commercial and financial history, illustrated through its relations with India and others influential countries. " He added, Kuwait is looking to connect with all the Asian countries economically and culturally, as the global atmosphere indicates that Asian economies are "today's Tigers, tomorrow's lions and the future giants" He said that the Gulf region's strategic location and ownership of energy makes it the major supplier of energy to Asia.
He added that "tampering with the security of the Gulf is tampering with global security", the fact that this region of the world represents the economic arm which seeks to establish a state of understanding and dialogue with Asia.
On the issue of establishing the Asian cooperation Dialogue Organization in Kuwait, Al-Bishara highlighted the importance of dialogue, and stressed that this dialogue is to create a framework and forum based in Kuwait.
On the other hand, Kuwait University Professor Dr Haila Al- Mukaimi said that economic diplomacy formed a milestone in the Kuwaiti policies, based on openness and trade liberalization, clarifying that major economic powers in the world pursued policies to keep up with the requirements of financial development and trade for closer ties with the world.
Al-Mukaimi considered that openness to the influential Asian countries in the global economy or the so-called Asian growth is an attracting element in international relations and gives weight to the Asian continent.
She assured Kuwait's interest in strengthening relations with large Asian economies, such as China, Russia, Japan and India.
She also referred to several agreements between the State of Kuwait and Asian countries including financial and trade cooperation and other trade and economic instruments which is a cornerstone in the expansion of relations in the future.
Al-Mukaimi added, Asian economies depend largely on the Kuwaiti oil in addition to aspiration of Asian companies to investment in the State of Kuwait.
She also referred to the comprehensive dialogue which began in 2001 among all Asian countries, named as the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, through discussions which started in Thailand, and today Kuwait launched the first summit for Asian leaders that there will be a permanent secretariat for the Asia Cooperation Dialogue based in Kuwait.
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