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Ping told the opening session of the Second Afro-Arab Summit of heads of state and government that the AU and the League of Arab States (LAS) were also creating an Africa-Arab Development Forum for government officials, intellectuals, private sector and civil society to meet and discuss issues affecting the two regions.
During the past three decades since the maiden Afro-Arab Summit in 1977, Ping said the two regions had recorded significant milestones in the area of political and diplomatic cooperation.
’’I recall with appreciation the strong brotherly support that Africa received from its Arab partners during its struggle against colonialism and apartheid. On its part, Africa provided a strong and continuous support to the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for their inalienable right to self-determination,’’ he said.
Noting that the Palestinian question continues to be a regular item on agenda of the AU political organs, Ping assured the Summit that Africa’s commitment to ensuring the Â legitimate rights of the Palestinian people is unflinching.
Despite a number of positive development witnessed during the past three decades in Afro-Arab relations, the AUC chief said there were also some shortcomings but he did not elaborate.
In the area of conflict resolution, Ping said the two sides had had ’’a very productive collaboration which brought to an end the conflict in the Comoros and provided ’’a sound solution to the political deadlock in Mauritania.’’
Despite their continued collaboration for a solution to the raging conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region, Ping said ’’the situation continues to defy international concerted efforts at finding a sustainable solution.’’
In addition, he said the forthcoming referendum in Southern Sudan and the Abyei region in January 2011 continues to be a source of concern, given the complexity of pre- and post-referendum issues that need to be resolved.
On Somalia, Ping said the country had been deprived of Statehood for 20 years and ’’the situation remains a source of concern to our two regions, though possibilities of dealing with the conflict exist.’’(With Panapress).
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