Posted by: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Tunisia joining the “Silk Road Economic Belt” (the belt) and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” (the road) initiative will be inked early next week in Beijing, China.

This will take place on the fringes of Tunisia’s participation in the eighth Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum set for July 10, in the presence of Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Arab FMs and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

The MOU will be signed by Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui who will represent Tunisia at this forum.

Tunisia joining the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will help upgrade infrastructure and boost foreign investments.

China signed memoranda of understanding with nine Arab countries as part of the BRI; energy cooperation agreements were also inked with four Arab nations.

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong told a press briefing held at the weekend President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum.

The forum will focus on participation in the construction of the Belt and Road, the promotion of peaceful development and boosting strategic partnership between China and Arab states.

Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as well as foreign ministers and senior ministry officials from 21 Arab countries will attend the event.

President Xi Jinping will deliver a speech in which he is expected to put forward a string of proposals to relaunch cooperation with Arab countries, as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

A number of documents will also be adopted during the Forum, mainly the Beijing Declaration and the 2018-2020 action plan which covers over ten areas of cooperation, the Chinese Assistant FM further said. The action plan sets the roadmap for the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The BRI made of China the second largest trading partner of Arab countries and the first trade partner for ten among them.

The volume of trade reached 191.352 billion dollars in 2017, posting a 11.9% rise compared to 2016.

China’s direct investment in Arab countries totalled 26 MTD.