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MENAFN - Arab News - 22/01/2013

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Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, with some of the Arab leaders before the opening of the Arab Economic Summit in Riyadh on Monday. (SPA)
(MENAFN - Arab News) Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah called for the adoption of a unified agreement for Arab funds, which could attract investments from all parts of the Arab world because of its incentives and security.

Speaking on behalf of King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman, who took over the chair of the 3rd Arab Economic and Social Development Summit from outgoing chairman and Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi, urged the private sector in the Arab world to harness capital investment for the benefit of their respective countries.

The king lamented that trade among Arab countries has not reached the desired level. "Sincere efforts and hard work would help us to reach our goals to achieve Arab economic integration in a satisfactory manner," the king said.

The king went on to request that participants fulfill the requirements for the greater Arab free trade to be established before the end of this year. He also called on member nations to start working seriously toward establishing the Arab Customs Union before 2015. He expressed the Kingdom's willingness to contribute to the International Islamic Trade Finance to promote inter-Arab trade.

He pointed out that the role of the private sector in the global economy is growing, and that the Arab private sector should take steps to create a growth engine in the Arab world by increasing the volume of trade and investment among Arab states.

He also urged Arab states to unite and intensify their efforts to overcome obstacles to establishing a joint Arab action that would pave the way for progress and prosperity.

While welcoming the heads of states from 21 Arab countries, the Crown Prince took the opportunity to thank Egyptian President Mursi for his immense contributions to the progress of the summit during his chairmanship.

For his part, Mursi stressed the need for a comprehensive review of current economic and social challenges facing the Arab world and said that a mechanism should be found to resolve these issues.

In his speech, Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil El-Araby called for the UN Security Council to impose an immediate cease-fire in Syria and set up an international body to monitor it.

He lamented that the mission of the Joint Special Representative of the UN and the League of Arab States for the crisis in Syria, had proven fruitless. He also urged the Arab foreign ministers to to help displaced Syrians, who have fled their country for safety.

The countries participating in the two-day summit include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Palestine, Yemen, Libya, Mauritania, Somalia, Djibouti, and Comoros Islands. The meeting was held at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Hall in Riyadh.

Following the opening ceremony, delegates had a closed door session. The conference held under the umbrella of the Arab League aims to develop joint Arab efforts in support of developmental issues in the economic and social fields as well as enhancing and improving means of cooperation between Arab countries.


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