Arab Economic and Social Development Summit opens in Saudi Arabia

Photo: Arab Economic and Social Development Summit opens in Saudi Arabia  / Arab World

Arab leaders opened a summit in Riyadh on Monday that was set to focus on raising trade and investment and address recent social and political upheaval across the region, DPA reported.

The two-day Arab Economic, Social Development Summit was also to debate new rail links, measures toward creating a customs union by 2015, and ways to combat unemployment in the Arab world.

In late 2010, unemployment and social inequalities were the main causes that triggered and drove an uprising in Tunisia that then spread to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.

Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf said a preparatory meeting of foreign ministers had finalized a draft agreement on inter-Arab investment to be presented at the summit in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking to the press, Al-Assaf said the agreement would allow the free flow of Arab capital and investments in member countries.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi told the opening that "the Arab nations are passing through very important phases that have witnessed social, political and economical developments" in the past two years.

Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood and replaced ousted president Hosny Mubarak, said the summit would focus on improving the economic and social situation in the Arab world.

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