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Kuwaiti minister affirms Gaza to be major issue at upcoming Arab economic summit

Source: Xinhua | 01-19-2009 08:37

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

KUWAIT CITY, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Kuwaiti Minister of Information Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah Sunday affirmed on Sunday that situation in Gaza Strip will be a major issue on the agenda of the first Arab Economic, Development and Social Summit, due to open on Monday.

Sabah, whose country will host the summit, said at a press conference that officials of all the 22 Arab League member states will attend the two-day summit, including 17 heads of state. They will review all the previous efforts to end the Gaza crisis, and plan a fund for Gaza's reconstruction at the summit with the slogan of "In Solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza."

On Israel's announcement of unilateral ceasefire, the minister said it was not enough, adding that Israel should abide by all international laws and resolutions.

He stressed that the economic and social issues related to Arab development are also a major task of the summit, to be held amid the global financial crisis which has shadowed the region's economy.

He said Arab leaders will discuss ways to reduce the negative impacts of the world recession.

Several preparatory meetings have been held in the past two days prior to the historic summit, the first for the 22-member Arab League to exclusively devote to Arab economic, development and social matters, attended by heads of state together with politicians, businessmen and intellectuals.

The Arab foreign ministers meeting on Saturday discussed an urgent plan to save the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip, based on political, economic and humanitarian aspects, which will be put forward to the upcoming summit.

The summit, under preparation for two years, was initiated by Arab leaders during the annual Arab Summit in Riyadh in March 2007as they found Arab national security has been affected by the economic and social underdevelopment. The summit will approve a number of proposals and projects to improve Arab nations' power linkage, roads and railways networks, food security and education. An agreement on the Arab Customs Union plan is likely to be reached.

Following the Israeli offensive on Gaza Strip, the Gaza issue is expected to top the agenda of the summit, with leaders to review the latest developments in the Palestinian enclave, and to find a solution to end the Israeli attacks which began on Dec. 27,2008, killing some 1,245 Palestinians and wounded around 5,300 others.


Editor:Zhang Yun