(MENAFN - Arab News) Riyadh is set to welcome today the heads of state and ministers of 21 Arab countries for the third Arab Economic and Social Development Summit aimed at finding common ground on crucial issues of trade, job creation, energy needs and disease prevention.
The event is being held under the aegis of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah at the King Abdul Aziz Conference Hall in the capital.
The capital is dotted with colorful national flags from the member countries of the Arab League.
The first Arab Economic and Social Development Summit was held in Kuwait in 2009, followed by the second summit in Sharm El-Sheikh in 2011.
Foreign Ministers and finance ministers of the Arab countries met here Saturday to prepare the agenda for the summit.
Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal took over as chairman of the summit from Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamil Amr before the committee began its deliberations. Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil El-Araby, who attended the ministerial preparatory meeting, will also be present at the summit.
Prior to Saturday's ministerial meeting, a panel of senior government officials from Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco drew up a plan for the summit agenda. The summit starts at 7 p.m. today and at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
Issues on the agenda include ways to promote investment flows across all Arab nations, develop sources of renewable energy from 2010 to 2030, fulfill the 2000 to 2015 millennium development goals, fight noncommunicable diseases (NCD) and set up a youth forum in the Arab states.
Cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases will be highlighted among the other noncommunicable diseases (NCD) in the Arab world. It was felt that the NCDs are a significant burden on the economies and health systems of Arab countries.
The meeting will also take up the recommendations from the Arab Private Sector Forum, which concluded last week in the capital.
Emphasis will be placed on creating small and medium-sized industries and introduce vocational guidance and training opportunities for young people after they graduate.
The conference is aimed at finding solutions for developmental issues that have been neglected because of the intense focus on political issues.
The traffic department in Riyadh announced yesterday that Makkah Road, King Fahad Road and Khurais Road will be closed to traffic from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and tomorrow.
Lt. Col. Hasan Hassan, head of the command and control center and spokesman of the Riyadh traffic department, stressed the need to use alternative routes like Takhasussi, Olaya, King Abdul Aziz, Turkish and University Avenue, Al-Washem Street and King Abdullah Road via Imam Saud bin Abdul Aziz.
All ring roads in the north, south and east can serve as alternative roads. The spokesman said the Riyadh traffic department sent out text messages and ran advertisements in the media.
Heads of state from the participating Arab countries started arriving in Riyadh yesterday afternoon.
They included Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, President of the Republic of Comoros Ikililou Dhoinine and Iraqi Vice President Khudair bin Mousa Al-Khuzai'. Sudanese President Omar Bashir arrived earlier yesterday and performed Umrah.