President Mubarak will open the fourth ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Sharm el-Sheikh today. Participants include Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and 49 African heads of state, as well as foreign and trade ministers.
The conference will focus on the Beijing Plan of Action adopted in 2006, which includes several cooperation programs and projects between China and Africa, which seek to achieve comprehensive development. The projects concern infrastructure, education, health, trade and the environment.
The forum will also discuss several important topics of interest to both the African and Chinese sides, the foremost of which is security and peace. It also seeks to increase cooperation between China and Africa in order to deal with the changes and challenges facing the continent in light of the financial crisis, and its implications on development efforts in Africa. Particular participation will be paid to infrastructure and agriculture.
At the conclusion of conference activities, the participants plan to adopt the Sharm el-Sheikh declaration and a plan of action that includes detailed and specific programs within the scope of the forum’s activities, and will serve as the foundation of the China-Africa partnership over the next three years, until the fifth conference is held in Beijing in 2012.
Meanwhile, President Mubarak received the Chinese Premier at the presidential palace in Heliopolis yesterday. The two leaders discussed bilateral relations and the development of the situation in the Middle East, particularly events in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan, as well as the Iranian nuclear file.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the talks between Mubarak and Wen Jiabao focused on bilateral ties and Egyptian-Chinese cooperation projects, specifically those in the northwestern Gulf of Suez. Egypt expressed its willingness to provide all necessary facilities to make sure the projects are successful, said the Egyptian minister.
The talks, according to Aboul Gheit, focused on Egypt and China’s vision for the region, and President Mubarak explained his views on the regional situations to the Wen Jiabao.
Meanwhile, Jiabao stressed his government’s commitment to freedom of religious belief and China’s desire to increase the role of religious figures in economic and social development. In a speech he delivered to the Arab and Muslim world yesterday from the Arab League headquarters, Jiabao said, “China has 10 ethnic groups that believe in Islam and number more than 20 million people. The religious rituals, culture and traditions of these groups are fully respected, he maintained, noting there are more than 35,000 mosques in his country in addition to sprawling Muslim restaurants.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.Tags: Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Wen Jiabao, ministerial conference