(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Arab leaders on Wednesday voiced their "total rejection" of foreign interference in Arab affairs, especially over the region's Christian minorities, Agence France-Presse reported.
"Arab kings and presidents... express their total rejection of attempts by certain states and foreign parties to intervene in Arab affairs in the name of protecting the minorities of the East," they said in a final statement after the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Egypt.
This "demonstrates a regrettable lack of understanding of the nature of the terrorist acts... and a harmful ignorance of the history of the people of the region", it read.
Arab leaders said they opposed "any foreign attempt to interfere in Arab affairs under any pretext, or using events to tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims, or to sow sectarianism between Muslims and Christians", according to AFP.
The leaders vowed to "move forward in the development of our societies in terms of human development, technology, economy and society".
"The developmental challenges are no less important than the political challenges facing the region," the leaders said in the statement.
The statement also commended His Majesty King Abdullahs Interfaith Week initiative to promote tolerance, which was adopted by the UN, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Deputising for the King, Prime Minister Samir Rifai headed the Jordanian delegation to the summit.
Food security and the hikes in prices were the focus of the summits agenda, prompting participants to highlight the necessity of discussing joint efforts to address these issues and their effects on Arab societies, Petra said.
In his opening address, Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber, who chaired the previous summit, stressed the need to continue the efforts to solve economic and social problems and to follow up on the decisions made at the previous summit.
At the last summit, held in Kuwait in 2009, Arab leaders agreed to set up a 2 billion Arab development initiative to support small- and medium-sized enterprises, with Kuwait contributing 25 per cent of the projects funds.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who chaired the summit on Wednesday, said economic development and cooperation had become a national security priority, AFP reported.
"We have realised that the priority of economic cooperation and development is no longer just about progress for our people... but a basic demand of Arab national security," he said.
The Egyptian leader called for tasking the Arab League General Secretariat with outlining Arab economic agreements and frameworks, and suggesting methods to activate these agreements and overcome legislative obstacles that hinder their implementation, Petra said.
Mubarak also called for the active participation of the private sector in implementing joint Arab mega-projects through partnerships with the regions governments.
At the summit, Arab League chief Amr Musa said the revolution that happened in Tunisia was "not far from the subject of this summit".
"The Arab soul is broken by poverty, unemployment and general recession... The political problems, the majority of which have not been fixed... have driven the Arab citizen to a state of unprecedented anger and frustration," Musa was quoted by AFP as saying.
The summit adopted several economic mega-projects, such as projects for regional electricity grids, railway networks, maritime transport networks, the Arab emergency programme for food security, regional maritime security, and the Arab programme to reduce unemployment, according to Petra.
The Jordanian delegation also included Minister of Industry and Trade Amer Hadidi and Jordans Ambassador to Egypt and Permanent Representative at the Arab League Hani Mulki.