INTRODUCTION: The first Afro-Arab summit, aimed at binding more closely some 300 million people, opened in Cairo on Monday (7 March).
INTRODUCTION: The first Afro-Arab summit, aimed at binding more closely some 300 million people, opened in Cairo on Monday (7 March). The summit brought together 60 African and Arab states and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) which became a full member of the Arab League last year. It was jointly organised by the 48-member Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the Arab League which groups 20 states and the PLO. Eight of the OAU states are also members of the Arab League.
SYNOPSIS: The official opening was held at the Arab Socialist Union head-quarters in Cairo and among heads of state attending was President Moktar Ould Daddah of Mauritania. At least 23 kings and heads of state attended the opening, including President Elias Sarkis of Lebanon. The summit followed a four-day Foreign Ministers' conference which approved political and economic declarations on closer cooperation between the third world's major exporters of oil and materials. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt was unanimously elected chairman of the summit. His Foreign Minister Ismail Fahmi also attended.
Among other African leaders at the conference was President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia. The African countries are looking to the oil-rich Arabs nations for aid in their development. But for President Idi Amin of Uganda, the summit was also and opportunity to reaffirm his intentions to attend the Commonwealth Conference in London later this year. He said he would be attending despite what the British wanted.
President Sadat in his opening speech called for joint third-world action to eradicate the traces of enslavement and exploitation. He said African and Arab countries must demonstrate their will and capability for close cooperation if they wanted to make the industrialised countries meet them half-way. The Egyptian President said none of the countries should draft lists of losses and gains, of think of what was given and taken, but only of what constituted gains for all.