FOCAC Senior Officials Meeting ends in Egypt

11:02, November 07, 2009      

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Senior Officials Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) wrapped up in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Friday.

Senior officials from China and African countries concluded a meeting here, having made final preparations for the fourth Ministerial Meeting scheduled on Nov. 8-9.

At the opening ceremony of Friday's meeting, Ibrahim Ali Hassan, secretary general of the fourth Ministerial Meeting, said "today's meeting is to make preparation for the fourth Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC to be held in two days."

He said Chinese and African leaders will exchange in-depth views on further development of Sino-African relations at the forthcoming ministerial meeting, and blueprint their future all-round cooperation in various fields.

Friday's Senior Officials Meeting is the seventh in the framework of FOCAC.

"The meeting is to review and adopt the draft program of work of the fourth ministerial conference," Hassan said.

Up till now, around 20 heads of state or government would take part in the ministerial meeting, according to Hassan.

"Great progress has been achieved and the Chinese-African relations have witnessed stable progress in the past few years," he said.

Chinese Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhai Jun said at the opening ceremony "The global economic crisis has spread; hence, under such circumstances, this conference will be significant to further China-Africa cooperation."

"The meeting will map out plans for China-Africa friendly cooperation," he added.

Ambassador Ahmed Rezek, Egyptian coordinator for FOCAC, said Chinese and African officials have reached the declaration of Sharm el-Sheikh and the revised draft of the action plan.

China and Africa have witnessed closer cooperation in various fields since the Beijing Summit in 2006, said Zhang Ming, secretary-general of the Chinese Follow-Up Committee of FOCAC and director-general of the Department of African Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

"In the action plan, China included plans to promote cooperation between the two sides in the future," said Zhang, adding "It also includes our priorities in the years to come."

"The relations between China and Africa are timely and beneficial," Philippe Le Gall, ambassador of Seychelles to China, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the Senior Officials Meeting.

"China-Africa forum, as a strong identity of its own, is a long-lasting one and we are so ambitious when we talk about what is going to happen in the years to come," he said.

"Seychelles has participated in all the meetings organized by FOCAC because we think the outcomes of the previous meetings were extremely concrete and result-oriented, as we don't meet for rhetoric but for action," he added.

Representative of Libya delegation told the senior officials meeting, "We hope to advance the cooperation between China and the African countries in political area, trade, health, medicine, science and technology on the basis of equality and transparency, in order to achieve mutual benefits and common interests to help the African states to evolve, specifically under the circumstances of the global financial crisis."

"China is considered one of the third world countries that stand together with Africa and support its issues. On the other hand, Africa granted its support and voice to China," he added.

Meanwhile, representative of Sudan delegation told Xinhua, "The FOCAC reached a very progressed level of South-South cooperation, which means interests of both sides."

"What is essential now for the forum is to implement what have been agreed on through the action plan and the declaration," he said, adding that great changes have taken place from Beijing Summit to Sharm el-Sheikh meeting.

The main agenda of the upcoming ministerial conference here is to review the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development and the two documents adopted during the first ministerial meeting of the forum held in Beijing.

The meeting is also expected to explore new initiatives and measures on the way toward Sino-African cooperation in priority areas such as human resources development, agriculture, infrastructure development, investment and trade.

The FOCAC is a mechanism for collective dialogue and cooperation jointly established by China and Africa to cope with new challenges and facilitate common development.

Since the launch of FOCAC in 2000, three ministerial conferences have been held in Beijing, Addis Ababa and Beijing respectively.

Source: Xinhua
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