INTRODUCTION: Heads of State and their representatives from 60 Arab and African nations have been arriving in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, for a summit on political and economic cooperation.
INTRODUCTION: Heads of State and their representatives from 60 Arab and African nations have been arriving in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, for a summit on political and economic cooperation. Their arrival coincides with reports of disagreement between some nations at an earlier preparatory meeting of foreign minister.
SYNOPSIS: Many of the leaders arrived at Cairo airport on Sunday (6 March) -- the day before the start of the summit. Egypt's President Sadat was at the airport to welcome them -- here he greets President Felix Malloum of Chad. The African nations are seeking more aid from the rich Arab oil states. However, the Arabs have only made a pledge of intent on the aid increase. The African foreign ministers finally accepted the pledge, and a promise to increase the capital of two development banks.
At the summit, the Heads of State will have three documents to discuss -- prepared by the foreign ministers. The first concerns the Arab aid to Africa. The second deals with strengthening solidarity between Arab and African countries in their approaches to international affairs. In particular, their aim is to isolate Israel and the white minority governments of South Africa and Rhodesia. They feel this could best to be achieved by a unified policy of action.
A third document deals with ways of implementing cooperation agreements between both sides. It calls for ministerial meetings every 18 months and a summit of heads of state every three years. with a permanent committee of 24 Arab and African states to follow up decisions taken at summit meetings.
The summit has already brought together former political opponents. President Hafez al-Assad of Syria, here with President Sadat, was strongly critical of Egypt over its policy towards Israel and Lebanon, but the two countries have now reconciled their differences. However, it is not yet clear whether all political differences can be ironed out between the nations at the summit.