Africa-Arab summit ends with terrorism focus

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Kuwait Declaration presented at end of summit says leaders want “stronger ties to combat terrorism”.

Safeeyah Kharsany Last updated: 21 Nov 2013 01:3

The third Africa-Arab summit has concluded with leaders expressing their commitment to tackling terrorism and a call for closer economic cooperation.

The Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al Ahmed al Sabah, host of this year’s event, said on Wednesday, “we have a long way and hard work ahead, requiring doubled efforts, and vigorous follow up, to match the high expectations and various challenges.”

The Kuwait Declaration presented at the end of the two-day summit said “the leaders call for stronger ties to combat terrorism by criminalising ransom payments to terrorists and confronting transnational crime.”

The declaration also called for accelerating economic integration in the Arab world, which includes oil-rich Gulf States and investment-thirsty African states.

Kuwait, the largest investor from the Arab region in Africa, affirmed its commitment on Tuesday with an investment on $1bn in soft loans to the continent to be issued over a five year period.

Kuwait also announced cooperation with the World Bank and other international institutions “to provide investments and investment guarantees worth [another]$1bn” to focus on infrastructure projects over the following few years.

About 30 bilateral discussions took place on the sidelines of the summit, addressing some of the key conflicts on the continent with some countries securing handsome investments.

Saudi Arabia signed economic agreements with seven African countries: Uganda, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Mauritania and Mozambique amounting to a total of $136m.

Issues of migration clouded the event with the chairperson of the African Union and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, opening the meeting with a sharp rebuke to Arab countries.

“The issue of the migration and migrant workers is our collective responsibility and, if we do not address it jointly with the urgency and seriousness it deserves, I am afraid the issue may threaten to undermine our partnership,” he said on Tuesday.

In recent weeks, relations between Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia have been strained after the Gulf state conducted a heavy-handed crackdown on migrants in which at least three Ethiopians are known to have been killed

The Fourth Africa-Arab Summit is set to take place in Africa in 2016.

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