HAMMAMET, Tunisia, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and Arab ministers vowed Thursday in Tunisia to continue to deepen their strategic cooperative relationship as they wrapped up the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum.
At the closure of the conference, which was held in Tunisia's eastern seaside city of Hammamet under the theme of "deepen strategic cooperation, promote common development", Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the conference has successfully finished its agenda and has achieved the expected goals.
Defining the conference as "a grand event of reflecting on friendship, enhancing solidarity and looking out for the future," Yang said, "the conference agreed on the communique and action plan for 2012-2014. The two documents will play a role of guiding and promotion in the development of the China-Arab ties and the forum itself in the next two year."
According to the communique, China and Arab countries will continue to strengthen political negotiations and cooperation under the forum's framework on major regional and international issues. China reiterated its support to Arab countries' strategic choices for realizing a comprehensive and just peace. The communique stipulated to establish a bilateral and collective disputes-solving mechanism, and set a target of increasing the China-Arab trade volume to 300 billion U.S. dollars in 2014. China also agreed in the communique to enhance cooperation in human resource with Arab states, pledging to train 5,000 people in various sectors for Arab countries from 2012 to 2014.
The two sides also agreed to take measures to deepen cultural exchanges, including to encourage the establishment of cultural centers in each other.
Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdesslem said at a press conference after the ministerial meeting that the one-day conference included two close-door meetings, in which the ministers discussed the development of the forum and the China- Arab relations and exchanged of views on international and regional issues of common interest. The two sides also signed a series of memoranda of understanding for cooperation in the areas of industry, health and quality control.
"I can say with confidence that the conference went on well and has reached a huge success. The attendees exchanged views profoundly, and we found that we are holding similar or even same viewpoints and stances on some major international and regional issues," said Abdesslem.
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, who attended the opening of the conference earlier Thursday, expressed his hope in a speech that China and Arab countries will upgrade their cooperation and establish a pragmatic and stable strategic relationship, saying that the theme of the forum is conducive for promoting bilateral investment and trade.
"Tunisia has been working together with the other Arab countries and participating the forum's activities since its establishment, making the forum a mechanism that covers areas of economy and trade, agriculture, technology and education," the Tunisian president said when addressing the ministers and senior officials from China and the Arab League (AL) member states.
"Since its establishment in 2004, the China-Arab Cooperation Forum has become a important platform for the collective dialogues and cooperation between the two sides in the new era," Yang said, hailing the forum's achievements during the past two years, including continuously-consolidated political ties, vigorously- growing economic and trade cooperation, and diversified cultural exchanges.
AL Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi stressed in his key-note speech at the conference that the AL attaches a great importance to the ties with China, and praised the forum's significant role in boosting the China-Arab cooperation in various areas.
"China has a leading role among the world's emerging powers and is the second largest economy in the world. The AL attaches a great importance to developing relations with China," the AL chief said, adding that the Chine-Arab Cooperation Forum is one of the most comprehensive mechanisms the AL has ever joined.
The conference also agreed to hold the next ministerial meeting in 2014 in China.