FOCAC based on mutual respect, understanding, interest

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The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is based on mutual respect, common understanding and enhancing interests between China and Africa, an Egyptian diplomat said ahead of an upcoming ministerial meeting of FOCAC to be held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

"China benefits from its cooperation with Africa while the latter benefits from its cooperation with China," said ambassador Ibrahim Ali Hassan, secretary general of the fourth ministerial meeting of the FOCAC, scheduled for Nov. 8 to 9.

"It is in the interest of China and Africa to discuss how to overcome difficulties facing their ambitions to achieve development programs," Hassan told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and African heads of state or government from 49 countries are expected to attend and address the opening ceremony of the FOCAC fourth ministerial meeting.

Hassan stressed the reliable partnership between China and Africa in the last decade and the willingness of both sides to enhance their future cooperation.

"Although China has attained great progress in many fields, such as industry, agriculture, trade and development, it is still so close to African countries and there are a lot of attractions between the two sides," said Hassan.

Hassan told Xinhua that the forum would especially focus on the past three years, following the 2006 FOCAC Beijing Summit which adopted Beijing Declaration and Beijing Action Plan which included a group of projects and programs that both sides agreed on.

The main agenda of the upcoming conference is to review the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development, explore new initiatives and measures on the way toward Sino-African cooperation in such areas of priority as human resources development, agriculture, infrastructure development, investment and trade, he said.

He added that the fourth ministerial meeting of the forum would at the same time looks to the future to promote cooperation between China and Africa in the next three years till a Beijing meeting in 2012.

According to Hassan, a business forum will be held from Nov. 7 to 8, ahead of the ministerial meeting. All business discussions would be in the business forum and Chinese and African businessmen would make some deals on establishing industrial areas.

Asked to respond to some western accusations that China is trying to control natural resources in African countries, Hassan said that China is a country belonging to the South and Africa is a part of this South and it deals with China within the framework of South-South cooperation.

The FOCAC was jointly proposed and established by China and more than 40 African countries in 2000.

As a collective consultation and dialogue mechanism between China and African countries, the FOCAC is the first of its kind in the history of Sino-African relationship. It is a major and future-oriented move taken by both sides to seek common development under the new situation.

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