Afro-Arab congregation is the first in the regionForeign ministers discuss security, peace [Archives:2003/683/Front Page]

November 6 2003

Mohammed bin Sallam
SANA’A — Maintaining security, stability and development in the Red Sea territory and the Horn of Africa as well as in the Middle East was the main focus of a summit of the Sana’a Congregation of Foreign Ministers, involving Yemen, Sudan and Ethiopia, Nov. 2.
This is the first Afro-Arab congregation where its members have dedicated themselves to maintaining security of the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa.
During the summit, foreign ministers of Yemen Dr. Abubakr Al-Qirbi, of Sudan Mr. Mustafa Ismaeel, and of Ethiopia Mr. Seyoum Mesfin, pledged to pursue cooperation in economic fields.
“Relations of the three countries have been strongly established and deeply rooted in the past. Any disaccords that might take place between two countries in the territory have to be settled through peaceful means. The ultimate aim of the trilateral summit is to settle deputes and disaccords,” foreign ministers remarked in a statement.
The foreign ministers also agreed to organize a businessmen conference in Sana’a in 2004. “This is because, promoting investment and trade should constitute the main concern of the trilateral businessmen countries,” they confirmed.
The foreign ministers also recommend to hold a summit in the mid of December 2003 in Ethiopia, as well as documenting a Sana’a Congregation Charter which will be presented to the Addis Ababa summit.
On the sidelines, foreign ministers also ratified a recommendation made by the sub-committee for the cultural and economical affairs with a view of organizing a commercial and cultural exhibition.

Congregation is open
The trilateral foreign ministers also confirmed that the Sana’a Congregation will be open for other countries to join, with the aim of creating an Afro-Arab unified vision, in order to strengthen further cooperation and integration among countries in the region in all different fields whether political, security, economical, social or cultural.
Foreign ministers spoke highly of proposals made by the cultural and economical committee which held its meetings in Sana’a on August, 6-7 regarding strengthening vital cooperation fields such as, marine transportation and freight, establishing a joint holding company, establishing industrial zones, and creating joint information network for the private sector trade and organizing commercial exhibitions.
Other fields also highly appreciated by the trilateral foreign ministers like, cooperation in the field of the financial services, activating the bilateral agreements to avoid double taxation.
The foreign ministers also dealt with vital cooperation fields, which include animal production wealth and exchanging experiences in this regard.
They also discussed ways of promoting cooperation in the field of education and research, including scholarships, holding joint scientific and academic symposiums, as well as enhancing cultural and sport exchanges.

Regional issues on top of the agenda
As for fighting terror, the foreign ministers of the Sana’a Congregation showed their total adherence to pursue cooperation and coordination as well as exchanging experiences with a view of enhancing security cooperation among those countries.
They also called other countries to take part in exerting strenuous efforts in this aspect. They placed an emphasis for monitoring border inlets alongside borders of those countries in an attempt to put an end to smuggling and illegal trade.
As for the Arab-regional issues, the foreign ministers of the Sana’a Congregation have welcomed the Sudanese peace process held in Kenya.
They expressed their hope that the expected peace process will at length reach a solution for crisis in the Southern Sudan.
On their parts, the foreign ministers of Yemen and Ethiopia spoke highly of the commitment of the Sudanese leadership and its seriousness towards the peace process as well as maintaining its unity.
As for the Somalia reconciliation, the trilateral foreign ministers have called all the Somalia ethnic groups to return to the negotiation table for maintaining the national reconciliation and peace process.
They also called all regional partners as well as the international community to exert more efforts in order to make a success of the reconciliation in Somalia.
The foreign ministers have warned of the intensifying situation in the Middle East and have rejected the use of force instead of peace. They also called the international community represented by the UN Security Council for an immediate interference to implement the Road Map towards establishing an independent Palestinian State.
They also called for an urgent need for maintaining peace and security in Iraq as well as putting an end to US occupation and restoring Iraqi sovereignty. The necessary arrangements for enabling the Iraqi people for their self-determination should be adopted.
They foreign ministers have called the United Nations and the international community to be held responsible for rebuilding Iraq.