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Kuwait summit to stress pledge to human rights, women’s empowerment
November 19, 2013, 12:19 pm

Arab and African countries meeting for a summit in Kuwait are expected to endorse a pledge to support human rights, fight terror “under all its forms” and empower women economically.

The Kuwait Declaration to be endorsed on Wednesday at the end of a two-day “Partners in Development and Investment” summit that opens today in the Kuwaiti capital will also call for improving cooperation and strengthening relations between Arabs and Africans at the popular and official levels.

The exchange of high-level visits and consultations and the consolidation of diplomatic and consular relations will help bring the people of the Arab and African countries closer, the declaration will stress, local Arabic daily Al Jareeda reported, referring to a draft copy of the 26-item communiqué.

Governments will be urged to enact laws that will protect women and empower them economically and to adopt initiatives and strategies to end discrimination against them.

The declaration will call upon Arab and African civil societies to continue their positive role in reinforcing peace, stability and security and in promoting humanitarian and development assistance.

The summit is the third to be held between Arab and African countries keen on partnering their financial capabilities and natural resources. However, it is the first time that it is hosted by a non-African country.

According to Lebanon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Adnan Mansour, positive recommendations based on political commitment, good intentions and mutual interests are “what is needed at the summit”.

“Recommendations that result from such events should not be buried under bureaucracy and forgotten,” the minister told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) in comments over complaints by officials attending the summit about “sluggishness in acting upon recommendations set forth by the 2010 Libya summit”.

“The event’s importance stems from its ability to bring together some one billion people. Both regions possess numerous resources, namely, finance, energy, human resources and technical expertise. The Arab world has many higher education graduates while Africa has huge energy, water and agricultural resources, along with large expanses of land that could be used for industrial purposes. They could both exchange potentials in order to build a bright future based on mutual benefit,” the minister said.

Trade between Arabs and Africans has existed for centuries, the minister added, referring to the presence of a Lebanese community of around 300,000 people in Africa.

Host Kuwait has already expressed its commitment to turning the theme of the Arab-African summit into reality.

“When the theme of the summit, Partners in Development and Investment, is implemented, we can achieve sustainable development for the nations of the two regions,” Shaikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah, the Kuwaiti foreign minister, told the media following the opening of the summit’s Media Centre. “We hope the summit achieves the proper utilisation of capabilities available to both regions. Both issues of development and investment contain many sub-issues, namely, stability and security, and both sides have agreed to discuss these matters,” Shaikh Sabah, also the country’s deputy prime minister, said.


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