Foreign Minister states regional troubles a concern for all
CAIRO: The members of G8 have been won over by the seriousness of Arab efforts in the areas of political, economic and social reform according to Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit.
Abul Gheit was commenting on the results of the G8-led Forum of the Future which came to a close on Dec. 1 in the Dead Sea in Jordan. A US initiative in 2004, the forum aims to promote rule of law, press freedoms and bigger roles for non-governmental organizations in the Arab World.
In attendance was US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice along with Arab foreign ministers.
The Foreign Minister added that reform is a long term process, which requires education for the young and eradicating illiteracy amongst other things. Abul Gheit said that reform will be achieved with a joint effort by the public and private sectors and the contribution of civil society.
The forum was overshadowed by the tumultuous events in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, which are adversely affecting reform in the region.
Abul Gheit highlight Arab concerns for the deterioration of security in the region and how conflicts could be resolved. This was imperative to create a suitable environment for the democratic process to forge ahead he added, stating that G8 support for reform in the region was supposed to go hand in hand with attempts to reach peaceful settlements in the region, especially with regards to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The Group of Eight (G8) major industrial nations are the UK, USA, France, Canada, Russia, Germany, Italy and Japan. They hold an annual summit to discuss common issues and rotate the presidency between them. Russia held the presidency for 2006 and thus co-chaired the event.