The Arab Economic Summit,
19-20 January 2009,
State of Kuwait

Speech of His Excellency Zine El Abidine Bin Ali
before The Arab Economic, Developmental & Social Summit


In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful,


His Highness & dear brother Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,Amir of the brotherly State of Kuwait,,,

Your Majesties, Excellencies & Highnesses,,,

Your Excellencies,,,

Your Excellency Mr. Amr Mousa, Secretary General of the Arab League,,,

Ladies & gentlemen,,,

It pleases me to extend my sincere thanks & gratitude to His Highness our dear brother Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait for the hospitality, a deep-rooted attribute of this country, ever since we reached the land of brotherly Kuwait. I would also like to commend the enormous efforts exerted by the State of Kuwait & the Secretariat of the Arab League to secure the best success conditions for this summit, which represents a launching point to unify our line & develop our joint Arab work.

 

Our summit is held in a difficult & critical period that our Nation is experiencing & before great challenges that it is facing. Gaza events occurred, predominated our preoccupations & became on top of the list of our concerns at a time we were preparing to hold our first economic summit. We want to affirm in this occasion an ingrained principle in Tunisia's politics, which is that the Palestinian question was & still our personal question, it is a top priority & we are keen to settle it down with wisdom & insight.

 

We have maintained, in all stages this question had passed, on being a dialogue & reconciliation part among brothers, & a support & backing force to our Palestinian brothers in their legitimate fight for freedom, dignity & establishing their independent state.

 

It is our deep conviction of the necessity to provide consolidation, consensus and efficacy in dealing with our issues, particularly, our first issue, the Palestinian question.

 

We reiterate in this occasion our position clearly regarding condemning the aggressive invasion on Gaza, the siege, devastation, displacement that the Palestinian people are facing, the killing & wounding thousands of civilians, & the gross violation of all international laws & humanitarian values.

 

I affirm that the strongest support we can offer our brothers the Palestinians in these critical circumstances is the unity of our word & our consensus on adopting practical & decisive resolutions in facing this situation.

 

That support is enhanced further by the unity of the Palestinian line, building trust among its parties through dialogue & consolidation, & observing the national interest so that all efforts are concentrated on a fateful issue.

 

We call for ending all types of siege & opening the crosses so that the humanitarian aid reach victims of the aggression & life regain its track on the Palestinian land in Gaza so that its people are able to live in security & stability.

 

We, in this framework, call for our summit to agree unanimously on establishing a special fund for Gaza reconstruction & rehabilitate what the Israeli aggression has demolished, in cooperation with the concerned UN organizations & all peace-loving countries.

 

We consider that solving this crisis should be a good start to resume the peace process, which we believe that effective people in the world have a basic role in advancing & making it a success to realize a just, permanent & comprehensive peace.

 

Tunisia is eager in all respects to contribute with its brothers in all the results originate from this summit and the efforts that enhance our position among nations. Tunisia is also committed to all resolutions that make us apt to the challenges facing us & help us to relief the suffering of our brothers the Palestinians.

 

Your Majesties, Excellencies & Highnesses,,,
Your Excellencies,,,
Ladies & Gentlemen,,,


The events in the world have shown that the economy has been many times a decisive tool in nations' rapprochement, supporting their potentials, unifying their word & advancing their development level to the best based on joint efforts & common interests that are steadily enhanced according to measured steps & fixed stages.

 

Therefore, we consider holding this summit is a distinguished event that is worth support & backing, especially in this decisive period that our nation is experiencing.

 

The current global financial crisis has inflicted on all countries, particularly the developing ones, great challenges & tremendous difficulties that disturbed its economic situation intensely. It requires us to be fully alert & intricately follow up what goes around us so that we find the best ways to serve our interests, elevate our economies & limit the negative effects of the world conditions on our Arab region.

 

The first matter that we should pay attention to in this field is that up till now, this intra-Arab cooperation has not been elevated to the aspired level, neither from our economic interests ties, nor from the Arab investments among our countries, nor from our merge into the global economic space where individual economies have no place in it.

 

This situation urges us to find steps to take all measures that help us to use our wide Arab space rationally for better Arab services & products flow, more investment & capital influx & easier individuals, labor & commodities move, to achieve economic integration among our countries within the framework of the great Arab free zone, & elevate the rest of the obstacles that hinder the development of Arab trade exchanges, paving the way for establishing Arab custom union in the year 2015 then joint Arab market in 2020.

 

Today, we are required to acknowledge the guidences that serve sustainable & acting Arab partnership, rationalize the employment of our natural & human resources as there is no way in this age to realize advancement & welfare without having a strong position of our nation in the world economic cycle.

 

In this regard, we have to be keen in enhancing the infrastructure of our countries, accelerate the implementation of the railways & electrical link schemes, developing the marine, air & land transportation, in addition to achieving joint big economic projects in cooperation with the private sector & Arab finance institutions & funds.

 

What the world has witnessed recently of the rise of basic food prices added further burden on our countries' shoulders that necessitate working on achieving Arab food security as it is a decisive issue in our national security system.

 

We have to, in this regard, to encourage investment in the rural sector, link this investment with initial transfer & food industry in partnership & product contracts between public & private sectors so that we contribute in developing the performance of the rural sector & improving its yield.

 

Arab water security is also one of the main challenges that our counties are facing. It imposes on us to find the forms to secure the optimal exploitation of our water resources, maintaining it & rationalizing consumption.

 

As the information technology is a prominent feature of our age for its pioneer role in serving development, we are called upon to enhance our nations' potentials to delve into information society, apprehend the numerical culture & generalize its technology among all classes & in on all levels.

 

We are also called upon to invest in scientific research & technology innovation, as it is an effective tool in uplifting the economy's revenues, especially in industry, rural, energy & environment sectors & others. We, in this context, suggest allocating at least 1,5 % of our countries' GDP for scientific research that would help creating proper incentives & mechanisms to attract researchers, build centers & laboratories that work based on objective strategy that links research institutions with their economic surrounding & combines basic scientific research with the applied one. It also provides our countries with a wide field of experiment & experiences exchange in this strategic sector.

 

Regarding social development, I would like to point out to three crucial elements that we have to attach importance on them.

 

On top of these elements is youth & woman care. As for youth, it is our duty to provide them proper upbringing & containment conditions, listen to their problems, know their ambitions, & secure work opportunities that help them merging in active life.

 

As for woman, it is also our duty to expand her participation scope in supporting economic & social development, especially with the rising awareness in our countries on the importance of developing her conditions & elevating her position in the family & society.

 

Moreover, fighting poverty & all kinds of exclusion, & marginalization should be one of our priorities. No economic boom without a just & balanced social policy that provides the basics of good life for all individuals, classes & generations.

 

Your Majesties, Excellencies & Highnesses,,,
Your Excellencies,,,
Ladies & Gentlemen,,,


The current global conditions & the challenges they entail oblige us to unify our political course to maintain our Nation's line & defend its interests. These conditions urge us as well to interact further with the surroundings & the age, & build bridges of communication & exchange with different regional gatherings, world markets & technological advances wherever they exist so that we own the competitive characteristic of the developed nations.

 

In conclusion, I hope that this summit results in establishing a new phase of joint Arab work in all fields & may Allah guide us for the good & welfare of our peoples & countries.

 

Wa Assalamu Alaikom wa rahmatu Allah wa Barakatuh

 

 

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