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FM: energy co-op only part of Sino-African co-op (02/06/09)

 BEIJING, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao will be discussing a wide range of cooperation issues on his tour of Africa and Saudi Arabia this month -- not just energy and resources, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun stressed Thursday.

  Hu is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Mauritius from Feb. 10 to 17.

  "The four African countries Hu will visit are not energy-rich and resources-rich countries," said Zhai at a press briefing.

  "They are not China's main energy resources. China has deep traditional friendship and smooth cooperation with these countries, but it isn't confined to energy and resources."

  Zhai said energy cooperation with Saudi Arabia, China's biggest energy provider last year, was a major component of bilateral cooperation, and an important topic in Hu's talks with King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz. The two sides could sign some agreements in this regard if discussions went well.

  Zhai said Hu's visit was aimed at promoting cooperation between China and developing countries, and consolidating the Sino-Arabian and Sino-African relationships.

  During Hu's stay in Saudi Arabia from Feb. 10 to 12, he will meet with Secretary General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) Abdul Rahman Al-Attiya to discuss cooperation between China and GCC member countries. Hu will also visit a cement production project constructed by Chinese companies in Riyadh.

  Last year, China imported over 36 million tons of oil from Saudi Arabia, its biggest trading partner in the Middle East.

  Mali was the first sub-Saharan African country to establish diplomatic ties with China. During Hu's stay from Feb. 12 to 13, he will hold talks with President Amadou Toumany Toure and meet with President of the Malian National Assembly Dioncounda Traore.

  Hu will attend the inauguration of a China bridge construction aid project in Bamako and the opening of a China-aided anti-malaria center. He will also visit Chinese medical teams sent to help local people.

  Zhai said China had enjoyed smooth relations with Senegal since diplomatic relations was resumed in October 2005.

  In Senegal on Feb. 13 and 14, Hu will hold talks with President Abdoulaye Wade and meet leaders of the National Assembly and Senate.

  Hu will visit Tanzania from Feb. 14 to 16. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. Hu will hold talks with Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume, exchanging views on bilateral ties, the implementation of the measures announced in the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the global financial crisis.

  Hu will also attend the completion ceremony of Tanzania's state stadium and visit a cemetery for Chinese experts.

  Hu will visit Mauritius on the last leg of this tour on Feb. 16 and 17. Relations had developed smoothly since the forming of diplomatic ties in 1972, Zhai said.

  Hu will hold talks with Mauritian Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam and meet President Anerood Jugnauth, discussing international and regional issues of common concern. Hu will also visit a Chinese cultural center.

  "This is Hu's first overseas trip in 2009, as well as his second African tour since the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2006. We hope to promote strategic friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, cooperation with GCC member countries, and a new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa, and the implementation of measures announced at the summit," Zhai said.


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