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Consultative meetings between the African Union Commission and the League of Arab States on Africa-Arab partnership programs

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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The African Union Commission (AUC) and the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States (LAS) held a series of extensive consultative meetings at the Headquarters of the LAS to discuss the joint Action Plan 2011-2016 and the preparation of the upcoming 4thAfrica-Arab Summit due to be held in Equatorial Guinea.

The delegation of the African Union Commission was led by the Head of Partnerships Management and Coordination, Bureau of the Chairperson,Dr. Levi Uche Madueke. The delegation was composed of H.E. Ambassador Abdelhamid Bouzaher,Head of the Au Permanent Delegation to LAS, and accompanying staff members of the African Union Commission and the AU Permanent Delegation to LAS, Cairo. The delegation of League of Arab States was led by Dr. Ahmed Al Twgery, Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) of the Economic Affairs Department and staff members of League of Arab States.

The Political Agenda and preparations for the upcoming meetings

Mr. Zeid Al Sabban, Director of Africa and Africa-Arab Cooperation along with Dr.Madueke co-chaired the first segment of the enduring meetings, This occasion provided the platform for the Interim Executive Council of the Africa-Arab Cultural Institute (AACI), located in Bamako, Mali, to meet, for the first time since the 3rd Africa — Arab Summit, to review the work program and the activities of the Institute.

The Director of the Africa- Arab Cultural Institute. Dr Mohamed Salem Soufi, highlighted the work program and the various activities organized by the institute. He presented the 2016 work plan and budget of Institute. After extensive discussions the session referred the budget to the next meeting of the Interim Council scheduled for January 2016 on the margins of the African Union Summit January 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The meeting deliberated on preparations for the upcoming 9th Senior Official Coordination Meeting, Addis Ababa, 23 February, 2016 and the 4th Africa-Arab Summit, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, November 2016, and charted the way forward towards ensuring that all technical and political matters related to these meetings are addressed and agreed upon. The meeting was graced by the presence of Dr. Fadel M. Gawadthe Assistant Secretary General (ASG) of the Political Affairs of the League of Arab States

The Economic agenda

The joint meeting between the Economic Department of LAS and the AU Commission was co-chaired by Dr Levi Uche Madueke, Head of Partnerships at the AU Commission and Dr. Ahmed Al Twgery, Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) of the Economic Affairs Department of the League of Arab States. The meeting reviewed the joint Action Plan 2011-2016 and agreed on the following: 1) To convene the meeting of the working group for trade, investment, energy, communication, and infrastructure by the 1st week of February, 2016, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 2) Refer all matters relating to Economic matters and in particular, the Africa-Arab disaster response fund to the Economic department at LAS. 3) Expedite action towards finalizing arrangements to hold the 3rdAfrica Arab Agricultural Ministerial., 4) Coordinate the process of holding the 9thAfrica-Arab Trade Fair.

The two sides stressed on the importance of finalizing these arrangements and holding the agreed meetings prior to the 4thAfrica —Arab Summit.

Courtesy Call on H.E. Ambassador Ahmed Benhaly, Deputy Secretary General of League of Arab States

The head of the AU Commission delegation, Dr Levi Uche Madueke,in the company of H.E. Ambassador Abdelhamid Bouzaher, the Head of the AU Permanent Delegation to LAS, Cairo, paid a courtesy call on H.E. Ambassador Ahmed Benhaly, Deputy Secretary General of League of Arab States. The visit created a forum for exchange of views on how to advance the course and purposes of the Africa-Arab Strategic Partnerships.

The Deputy Secretary General, in his warm remarks appreciated the initiative taken by the African Union Commission to engage in strategic consultations on matters of high importance to the Africa-Arab Strategic Partnership. He added that this will enable a renewed spirit on the Africa-Arab relationship and has injected greater momentum to the process, which will propel the Partnership to greater heights. He stated that this initiative should continue, and thanked the visiting team for the new approach and direction in driving the Africa-Arab Partnerships. He called for focused preparation for the upcoming 4th Africa-Arab Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in November 2016, and assured the team of his total support.

The head of the AU Commission delegation, Dr Madueke thanked the Deputy Secretary General of the League of Arab States for finding time to receive him and his team. He conveyed the special greetings of Her Excellency, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to the leadership of the League of Arab States H.E.Dr Nabil Elaraby and assured him of full cooperation in driving and sustaining the momentum already put in place towards making sure that the Africa-Arab Strategic Partnership delivers on the expectations of the peoples of both sides. He thanked the League of Arab States for the support it provided the African Union during its fight against the Ebola crisis. He informed that the African Union has embarked on the process of establishing Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in order to guide against such outbreaks in the future.

He noted that the renewed focus of the Africa-Arab Strategic Partnership centers on creating mutual benefits to the peoples of both sides. In that regard, efforts would be channeled to those critical areas of cooperation that would add value to the Partnership. He stated that emphasis would be placed on agriculture, trade and investment, transport, energy and communication, while ensuring greater cooperation on peace, security and political matters. He assured the Deputy Secretary General of LAS that the AU Commission is committed and will work with the League of Arab States to ensure that the upcoming Africa-Arab Summit will be successful.