11 July 2018

Libyan FM Stresses Importance of China-Arab Cooperation Forum

Tripoli — Libya's UN-backed Foreign Minister Mohammed Sayala Monday stressed the importance of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) which will be held on Tuesday in Beijing for all participating countries.

The Belt and Road Initiative will be discussed during the forum, and it will be in the interest of China and Arab states, Sayala told Xinhua before leaving for China to attend the eighth ministerial meeting of the CASCF.

The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aim at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.

The initiative will be an opportunity to develop cooperation in industry, agriculture, infrastructure, economy and joint investment, and will benefit all countries, he said.

In 2004, China and the Arab League, whose 22 members have all established diplomatic relations with China, formally launched the forum.

"The bilateral relations between Libya and China are solid and good. We are trying to speed up the return of the Chinese companies that were operating in Libya and activate the agreements between the two countries," he said.

Most foreign companies left Libya due to security deterioration following the overthrow of former leader Gaddafi's regime in 2011, when most development projects of electricity, water and housing were suspended.

Despite such problems, Chinese telecommunication companies remained in Libya and continued to operate despite the obstacles they face, making them the only foreign companies operating in the country in time of political division and economic decline.

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