Economics & Business Week
December 26, 2009
Inaugural Arab Global Forum Opens With Call To Build On Momentum Of Obama's Cairo Speech
The inaugural Arab Global Forum opened today, with business leaders from the Middle East and North Africa region calling for concrete action to broaden the engagement and partnership between the United States and the Arab world. American President Barack Obama had promised to work towards bridging the gaps between the two sides in a landmark address in Cairo in June this year. Yet "in the past six months since the speech, very little has been accomplished on the ground," said Shafik Gabr, Chairman and Managing Director, ARTOC Group for Investment and Development, Egypt. "We are here to participate in this new beginning." Mr. Gabr is founder of Egypt's International Economic Forum and Co-founder of the Arab Global Forum.
Gabr called on the US to play a proactive role in forging a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. "More than ever there is a need for conflict resolution," he told more than 200 participants in the two-day meeting. According to Gabr, the business, government and civil society leaders from more than 16 countries at the Forum aim to come up with "actionable initiatives" to bring to both the US and Arab leadership that would "set an agenda for a better future."
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