At a meeting of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in Cairo, Egypt, on Saturday (17 January), the representatives of nine member-countries discussed the Arab-European dialogue.
At a meeting of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in Cairo, Egypt, on Saturday (17 January), the representatives of nine member-countries discussed the Arab-European dialogue. The main objective of the meeting was to lay down a unified Arab plan which would serve as a base for the dialogue with the European Economic Community.
The developments in the "dialogue" which the delegates were most keen to discuss were the convocation of the General Committee later this month, the formation of specialised study teams on such subjects as industry, agriculture, and scientific research and technology.
However, the most urgent topic to be discussed was that of the areas of disagreement between the Arab side and the Common Market negotiators. On several subjects the "dialogue" is deadlocked. The Arab countries still want sweeping one-way trade concessions from the Common Market, in exchange for channelling Arab oil dollars to Europe.
At the last major meeting between the two sides which took place in Abu Dhabi in November, the Arabs were asking for the total abolition of duties, and other barriers to trade on all Arab exports, without any reciprocal concessions by the Arab countries. The Community were also to introduce a system to stabilise all Arab exports, as well as promote and diversify Arab exports through technical assistance, training programmes and trade fairs.
The Arabs rejected the Community's suggestion that transfers of European know-how and technology which had been agreed during the "dialogue" would represent a fair exchange for Arab investment. The Arabs pointed out that such technology would have to come from private industry, so they would be paying for it in any case.
Since that last meeting in Abu Dhahi little has changed. The current meeting of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union is intended to thrash out a unified approach before the next round of the "dialogue" which is due to take place in Cairo next month.
Saturday's first session was opened by the Union's Secretary-General, El Sayed Fawzy el Omda. Among the other delegates attending the conference wee El Sayed Mohamed Aly El Halaby, the Speaker of the Syrian Assembly, El Sayed Bahjat el Talhuny, the Speaker of the Jordanian House of Notables, El Sayed Khaled El Fahoum, the Chairman of the palestinian National Assembly, and El Sayed Ahmed el Saadun, the Deputy Speaker of the Kuwait National Assembly.