The Head of state and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe has arrived back home from Libya where he had joined other heads of state and government at the Second Africa-Arab Summit held in Sirte.
He was welcomed at the Harare International Airport by Vice President Joice Mujuru, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Minister of State for National Security in the Presidentâ€™s Office, Cde Sidney Sekeramayi, Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu, service chiefs and other senior government officials.
The Second Africa-Arab Summit was held after more than 33 years, after the first one saw African heads of states and governments committing themselves to renewing efforts towards integration and cooperation in various areas of mutual benefit through the adoption of the Draft Africa-Arab Partnership Strategy, the Joint Action Plan for 2011-2016 and the Sirte Declaration.
During the opening session, Libyan President, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi took the opportunity to apologise for the enslavement of Africans by Arab traders during the slave trade period.
TheÂ Secretary General of the African Union Commission and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Mr Amr Moussa called on the two regions to fully utilise the opportunities availed to widen the scope of cooperation in various sectors.
Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, who is the first chairman of the first Afro-Arab Summit held in Cairo in 1977, emphasised the need for the two regions to work closely in addressing common problems such as the effects of climate change, poverty, hunger and wars in trouble spots.
In an interview after the conclusion of the summit, Foreign Affairs Minister, Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said the
recommendations by the Joint Ministerial Meeting were accepted by the over 60 heads of state and government and their representatives who attended the summit.
â€œThe summit also endorsed a plan of action, which elaborates specific areas of co-operation under the four priority areas and provides an implemention.
â€œIt was also agreed that a Joint Africa-Arab Fund for disaster reduction will be established and the resources will be drawn from funds allocated from the annual budget of the AU and the League of Arab States and also voluntary contributions will be welcome,” said Cde Mumbengegwi.
The last Afro-Arab summit was held in Egypt, Cairo in 1977 and it was also agreed that the summit will be held every three years.
Kuwait will be the next host.