UAE FM calls on Arab, Pacific island nations to strengthen cooperation

08:39, June 25, 2010      

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The Arab world and Pacific island countries should strengthen constructive cooperation in the economic, social and political fields to jointly tackle challenges, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said Thursday.

In his opening address at a meeting between members of the Arab League (AL) and Pacific island countries, Sheikh Abdullah called for the establishment of strong diplomatic ties between the two sides to seek ways in coping with food shortage, water scarcity and climate change.

"Today, we are here to explore association with the Pacific island countries, within the spirit of South-South cooperation that unites us," he said.

"Through today's meeting we hope to introduce you to the challenges and opportunities that we face in our region, and also to learn from you about the challenges that you face in yours, so that together we can discover our potential and ability to help one another," Sheikh Abdullah added.

He noted that in an increasingly globalized world, cooperation between the Arab world and Pacific island nations will become "a decisive force for change."

"I hope that as our bilateral relationships grow stronger, so too do our ties in the political, economic, social and cultural arenas," the foreign minister said.

Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the AL, said the meeting, in a final communique, will call for the establishment of an Arab- Pacific cooperation forum with the UAE being its rapporteur.

Arab countries will also seek to benefit from Pacific island nations' experience in setting a nuclear-free Middle East, he said.

Foreign ministers of 21 Arab and 14 Pacific island countries attended the two-day meeting, with Australia and New Zealand participating in as observers.

The meeting came at the UAE's initiative launched by Sheikh Abdullah following his tour earlier this year to Pacific island countries, aimed at enhancing political and economic ties and developing collaboration between the Arab world and the Pacific islands.



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