Algeria is hosting the 31st summit of the 22-member Arab League on 1 and 2 November, as countries in the region seek to tackle a spate of divisive issues on the agenda.
Arab leaders are meeting in the Algerian capital, Algiers, for the first summit of the Arab League in three years, on 1 and 2 November. Algeria has taken over the rotating presidency of the League of Arab States (LAS). The 30th Arab League summit was hosted by Tunisia in 2019.
Algeria’s Prime Minister, Aymen Benabderrahmane said before the gathering that the Palestinian issue would top the list of Arab priorities, and described the meeting as an occasion “to reaffirm support for the Palestinian cause, as a central Arab cause, by emphasizing the common Arab position represented in the Arab Peace Initiative, which is the framework that guarantees the protection of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”
Speaking with Sputnik on the first day of the summit, Palestinian Minister of National Economy, Mr Khalid Al-Esseily referred to a recent scheme proposed by the Palestinian authorities.
According to the minister, Palestinian authorities are going to suggest that an extra cost is added to each monthly telephone bill (mobile or landline) in all Arab and Muslim countries, equal to the smallest unit of the local currency.
“This will support Jerusalem and the resilience of the Palestinians. It will serve as a source of funding for mosques (especially Al-Aqsa Mosque) and churches. It will preserve the uniqueness of the city from the attacks of radical settlers,” Al-Esseily said. According to the plan, the tax will be transferred to the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah.
Resuming Syria’s membership of the LAS has been another issue discussed before the summit. On 12 November 2011, the league suspended Syria’s membership, with the backing of 18 members – Syria, Lebanon and Yemen objected and Iraq abstained – over “the campaign launched by the Syrian regime to suppress protests”.
However, despite efforts to reinstate Syria, backed by Algeria, Syrian Foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, told Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra in September that “his country would prefer not to raise the issue of returning to its seat in the Arab League during the November summit to contribute to the goal of uniting the Arab world in the face of the challenges imposed by the current situation on the Arab world.”
With regard to Syria’s return to the Arab League, he confirmed the subject was already being discussed at the present summit by the league’s foreign ministers.
“All participants agree that the Syrian crisis has dragged on. The coronavirus pandemic and the Ukrainian crisis have exacerbated the economic situation, so the Arab League members are working to overcome present challenges and create effective mechanisms to deal with their consequences, whether it be food security, disruption of supply chains, or energy security,” Safadi said.
The Jordanian minister also took a moment to commend the measures taken by Qatar for the forthcoming World Cup. The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be played from 20 November to 18 December.
“All Arabs are proud that such an event will be held for the first time in the Middle East and are confident of its success,” Safadi added.
Another regional burning issue is the Yemeni conflict. The initiatives to establish peace in Yemen are being actively discussed at the Arab League summit in Algiers,
“I can note the unity of opinion on supporting the legitimate government and governing council, as well as our initiatives to establish peace in Yemen. Ignoring these initiatives by terrorist units [Houthis] is roundly condemned. There is already a consensus to denounce their threats to oil installations, international shipping, and the security and stability of the region as a whole,” Dr Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak stressed.
He confirmed that he would read out the draft resolution on the Yemeni issue after it is approved by the Arab League summit participants, adding, “and it will definitely happen”.
The Arab League summit is taking place against the backdrop of a complicated global and regional situation, acknowledged Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Nasser Bourita. Algeria invited Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to attend the summit as tensions mount between the countries over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
According to him, the issue of Syria’s return to the Arab League is being actively discussed and is one of the most difficult topics on the agenda. However, he added that participants were “close to consensus”.
The minister also noted that the Moroccan delegation at the summit would be guided by instructions received from the King of Morocco, Muhammad VI – who would not attend the summit – emphasizing that the economy is no less important than politics.
“That is why we are actively raising questions on economic integration into the Arab League. For now, I will say that our delegation has prepared a number of initiatives on this issue for discussion. For us, participation in the summit is not an end in itself, but an opportunity to discuss problems, find a joint way out of crises, and establish integration with our neighbors in the Arab region,” Bourita said.
This is originally published at Sputnik News