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King due in Riyadh to participate in Arab economy summit

By JT - Jan 20,2013 - Last updated at Jan 20,2013

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah will participate in the third Arab Economic and Social Development Summit that opens in Riyadh on Monday, a Royal Court statement said on Sunday.

His Majesty received an invitation from Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz to attend the two-day summit.

Agence France-Presse on Saturday quoted Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal as saying that the economic summit must break with tradition and tackle people’s aspirations in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings.

“Our meeting should not be mired in routine,” Prince Saud said at a meeting to prepare for the summit.

“The Arab world has faced these past two years upheavals of a political dimension... but we cannot ignore their economic dimension,” he added, according to AFP.

The minister stressed that the summit must tackle “the problems and issues that concern the lives of our people. We must meet the aspirations of the people”.

A recent economic report noted that unemployment in 2011 stood at 16 per cent in Arab countries where 17 million people out of 300 million are jobless, according to AFP.

At the same time, inter-Arab investments stood at a mere

$25 billion across the region.

The summit is expected to discuss the amendment of an Arab convention on investments in a bid to bolster the role of the private sector, the minister said.

The meeting would also examine means of drawing up new financial resources to support impoverished Arab states, he added.

Several Arab leaders are scheduled to participate in the meetings.

The gathering is held under the umbrella of the Arab League “to develop joint Arab efforts and to support developmental issues in economic and social fields which were neglected due to the intense focus on political issues and crises”, according to the Saudi foreign ministry’s website.

Summit goals include discussing investments in the Arab world, enhancing Arab economic cooperation and creating an economic base for supporting the region’s economies.

Twenty-one Arab countries have confirmed their plans to attend the summit, according to the Saudi foreign ministry.

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