S. Korea, Arab states discuss launch of cooperative group to enhance ties

South Korea and a group of governments from the Middle East and Africa met Monday to prepare for the launch of an organization aimed at enhancing political, cultural and economic ties. The proposed Korea-Arab Society groups South Korea with governments, corporations and organizations from 22 countries and authorities in the Arab world. President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Ismael Omar Guelleh of Djibouti delivered speeches at the opening ceremony of a conference in the South Korean capital preparing for the group's establishment. A representative of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika read a speech on his behalf. South Korea said that the moves to form the society resulted from an agreement to "expand and intensify" existing areas of cooperation.