Senior officials from China and 48 African countries Sunday attended a two-day meeting in Beijing to discuss the arrangements for the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) being held from November 3 to 5.
Zhai Jun, Chinese secretary-general of the summit's preparatory committee, said senior officials discussed arrangements for the event which were of significant importance to the success of the meetings.
In his opening speech Zhai, who is also assistant Foreign Minister, hailed the friendship and cooperation between China and Africa over the past 50 years. He said the Beijing Summit was an historical event in terms of Chinese-African ties and would have a far-reaching influence on cooperation between the two.
Hailekiros Gessesse, special envoy of the FOCAC's co-chair country Ethiopia and that country's Ambassador to China, said multilateral cooperation had strengthened since the body was founded in 2000 and was developing soundly.
Remarkable progress had been made in the fields of science and technology, education, culture, public health and personnel training, said Hailekiros.
China has had extensive discussions with African countries on preparations for the summit and many agreements had been reached, according to the assistant Foreign Minister.
The summit, which is the 3rd Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC, will focus on "friendship, peace, cooperation and development." The group provides a mechanism for collective dialogue and cooperation jointly established by China and Africa to deal with new challenges and facilitate common development.
Since the launch of the FOCAC two ministerial conferences have been held in Beijing and Addis Ababa.
(Xinhua News Agency September 18, 2006)