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China, Arab countries seek more cooperation within framework of Sino-Arab forum
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13:50, July 06, 2007

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During the fourth meeting of senior officials of the Sino-Arab Cooperation Forum (SACF) which ended Thursday, China and Arab countries have expressed their willingness of seeking more cooperation within the framework of the forum.

A final document highlighted the importance of exchange and cooperation between China and Arab countries.

The final document, approved during the two-day meeting opened at the Arab League (AL) headquarters in Cairo Wednesday, said China and Arab countries had made great progress in bilateral exchange in various fields including political, economical, cultural and educational sectors.

Regarding further cooperation between China and Arab countries, the document said the two sides would boost comprehensive exchange in various fields within the framework of the SACF, which was set up in 2004.

The two sides would carry out a series of plans to enhance cooperation on human resources development, travel, culture, environment and science, it said, adding that the two sides would continue to work for the establishment and improvement of more mechanisms of cooperation.

Addressing the opening session of the meeting on Wednesday morning, AL Assistant Secretary General for political affairs Ahmad Ben Hely said Arab countries and China had made great progress in bilateral exchange in various fields since the establishment of the forum.

Based on previous achievements of the forum, Ben Hely said that Arab countries and China should establish and improve the mechanism of cooperation and exchange in the fields of energy investment, human resources development, cultural exchange, environmental protection and education.

Song Aiguo, Director General of West Asian and North African Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said Wednesday at the opening session that in the coming stage of bilateral cooperation, the forum would focus on the establishment of new mechanisms and cooperation models.

The two-day meeting focused mainly on the evaluation of previous plans of mutual exchange and the preparation for the third SACF ministerial conference, slated for 2008 in Bahrain.

At a joint press conference with Ben Hely on Thursday following the meeting, Song said the meeting was of great significance, to which the Chinese government attached much attention.

The Chinese delegation to the SACF's senior official meeting consisted of officials from eight governmental departments, which was quite unprecedented, Song said.

He also said the Sino-Arab relationship was at a new stage of development both politically and economically, with frequent high level visits and increasing trade volume between the two sides.

According to statistics, the trade volume between China and the Arab countries reached 66.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2006, which made the Arab world the eighth trade partner of China.

Since the second SACF ministerial meeting in Beijing last year, a series of activities of exchange and cooperation have been held based on the framework of the SACF mechanisms, which included an Arab art festival, seminars on cooperation in environmental protection and the petroleum chemical industry.

In addition, the second China-Arab Business Conference was held two weeks ago in the Jordanian capital Amman, with the attendance of some 1,000 entrepreneurs from China and 16 Arab countries.

Song said the SACF had become a major platform to enhance collective dialogue and cooperation among China and Arab countries in the new era of international relations.

Source: Xinhua

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