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Chinese interested in connecting Lebanon to the Silk Road via Iraq, Syria

23-10-2018

As part of Arab-Chinese cooperation’s efforts to participate in reviving the Silk Road, An Nahar newspaper mentioned the recent visit to Beijing made by a delegation of the Arab Chinese Cooperation & Development Association (ACCDA) at the invitation of the highest Chinese economic committee, the China International Chamber of Commerce. This was followed by an extraordinary meeting of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and deputy director for the Department of West Asia and North Africa, Zhang Jian Wei, with ACCDA president, Qassem Tfaili. This meeting, according to An Nahar, reflects the interest of the Chinese Department, which networks with over 400 associations and parties worldwide, in the Arab world and, particularly in the emerging ACCDA (founded in 2017). The newspaper quoted Jian Wei as telling the Arab delegation that the international department will present the Arab ideas and proposals to the concerned authorities in China to receive direct support, while the Arab delegation called for fostering cooperation in the fields of education, investments and exhibitions. An Nahar went on to say that from a Lebanese perspective the issue seems very ambitious and requires the following of an extensive and complex roadmap requiring first and foremost the mobilization of large-scale funding for infrastructure projects, roads, energy and transportation networks. The newspaper noted the interest of the Communist Party’s Central Committee in the Arab-Chinese cooperation to revive the Silk Road which connects China in one of its side roads with the Eastern Arab Mediterranean Coast via Iraqi and Syrian territory up to Beirut. In the same vein, the new shipping line from China to the International Port of Tripoli was opened on October 9 with the docking of the Cmacgm Congo vessel to the port carrying nearly 10,000 containers, according to Tripoli Port director, Ahmad Tamer, who said the new route boasts huge ships (50m wide and 300m long). Furthermore, the chairman of Fransabank Group, Adnan Kassar, hosted Chinamex on October 19 in Beirut, which manages and invests in the permanent Chinese Expo, Dragonmart, to promote Chinese companies and products around the world. Kassar stressed the common interest of China and his country in strengthening bilateral cooperation and partnerships, not only for the Lebanese market, but also for African and Arab markets via Lebanon. (An Nahar, Al Mustaqbal, Al Diyar, September 28, October 20, 23, 2018)

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