INTRODUCTION Foreign Minister from more than 60 African and Arab countries began gathering in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Wednesday (2 March) to prepare for a major Afro-Arab summit.
GV: Cairo street and main square
SV: Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ismail Fahmy and other Egyptian officials waiting on tarmac.
SV: Tunisian Foreign Minister, Habib el Shatty, down aircraft steps and greeted by Mr. Fahmy.
SV: Jordanian Airlines aircraft taxiing.
SV: Jordanian Foreign Minister, Hassan Ibrahim down aircraft steps and greeted by Mr. Fahmy
SV: Lebanese Foreign Minister, Fouad Botross down aircraft steps and greeted by Mr. Fahmy.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The Heads of States summit will discuss a wide range of areas for mutual cooperation. However, any agreements reached at the summit are expected to be largely statements of intent and there may be demands from African states for more concrete action.
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Background: INTRODUCTION Foreign Minister from more than 60 African and Arab countries began gathering in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Wednesday (2 March) to prepare for a major Afro-Arab summit. The group of countries are hoping to forge a powerful Third World alliance of oil and raw material exporters.
SYNOPSIS: The decision to hold the summit in Cairo followed disagreement over whether the venue should be an Arab of African capital.
The Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ismail Fahmy, was at the airport to welcome the visiting ministers. The preparatory conference will discuss the agenda for the Heads of State summit and a draft political declaration on Afro-Arab cooperation. Such a large political and economic grouping would be a formidable force although many differences between the Africans and Arabs man surface during the meetings.
The summit will bring together a number of states who have been ideologically opposed over recent years. Jordan's Foreign Minister, Hassan Ibrahim, attended the preparatory meeting. His country has been condemned in the past by other Arab nations for its attitude towards the Palestine guerrilla forces. But it is hoped that such differences between the attending nations can be overcome.
Lebanon's Foreign Minister, Found Botross, was particularly interested in plans for the creation of a development fund for the member nations. The African countries are keen as well to see such a fund to help them make full use of their resources. Economic unity is expected to be a greater possibility for the grouping rather than political unity.