| 29 May 2024, Wednesday |

Will there be an Arab Summit in May?

The Lebanese position in the 155th session of the Arab League was remarkable, according to what Arab diplomatic sources told “Voice of Beirut International”. “Despite Arab and Western pressure to disengage the state from“ Hezbollah ”, and despite the party’s behavior internally and its control over the state’s decisions and capabilities, Lebanon has refrained from any mention of the terrorist characteristic of “Hezbollah” in the decisions that were taken, while Lebanon did not refrain from any epithets given to Iranian interference in Arab affairs, which is one of the items of the session.

The second issue that distinguished the session, as the source said, is that it did not prepare an agenda for the Arab summit, contrary to what is the custom every year. As the holding of the Arab summit is not yet final, especially regarding the timing. And the summit used to be held at the end of March of each year which will not happen this year. The summit is the responsibility of Algeria, as it is the country that will chair it, but it has been postponing it for a year due to Algeria’s internal conditions, and because of the Corona pandemic. It was canceled last year 2020. In the discussions of the 155th session, Algeria expressed its desire to hold it in the second half of next May, and that it adheres to its chairmanship and hosting it. But the matter is not settled, as it depends on the repercussions of  Corona, and any developments that determine the holding of the summit.

The League meeting was the first of its kind after the Gulf-Qatari-Egyptian reconciliation. For the first time since the estrangement between Egypt and Qatar, the Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs attended and chaired the 155th session. While during the estrangement, the deputy foreign minister used to attend the summit.

On the Palestinian issue, there were no problems, as all the issues raised were dealt with in the extraordinary meeting of the League that took place about three weeks ago. Consequently, some Arab relations with Israel were not covered. On other issues, there was a sharp difference in views between Egypt and Libya regarding the Libyan decision. And there was a difference in the wording. Intensive meetings took place before the ministerial meeting until all reservations were removed. The Libyan delegation had in mind the condemnation of Haftar, with its talk about mass graves. . However, Egypt tried to soften the tone in this regard. then, the Libyan stance was softened with rather an atmosphere of reconciliation, but with different views on each of the Egyptian and Libyan draft resolutions. However, soon a consensus was reached on the Libyan issue. In the decision regarding Turkish interference in Arab countries affairs, three countries had reservations: Qatar, Libya and Djibouti, which concluded that the reconciliation began, but with slow steps, despite the presence of a real intention to reconcile. However, the alliances that still exist between Qatar and Libya with Turkey still has an effect, and this alliance has not been broken.

Regarding the resolution related to Iranian interference in the Arab countries affairs, Lebanon had reservations about every paragraph that described “Hezbollah” as a terrorist, opposing the comprehensive Arab position regarding this issue. Despite the pressure from the street and the accusation of the people that the party is behind the tragedies the country has reached, Lebanon attributed the reason for the reservation, according to the sources, is that the party represents part of the Lebanese social fabric, in Parliament and in the government. And that it has its popularity and representation. Lebanon made reservations about everything mentioned about that, and requested that the word terrorist be deleted in order to lift its reservation, but this did not happen. While Lebanon did not express any reservations about all the phrases related to Iranian interference in the Arab countries, whatever the phrases. Iraq also refrained from mentioning the description of “Hezbollah” as a terrorist.

Lebanon succeeded in inserting a paragraph in the draft resolution related to it, which is new, about Arab support for the formation of the government. And all the Arab countries agreed to that. It is noteworthy that this phrase was the result of a Lebanese political consensus to be included it in the decision and passed easily, before the text reached the Arab League.

The source concluded, the political trend is proceeding positively among the Arabs, while there are other differences that appeared in the university meeting, and they are related to administrative and financial affairs, especially about reforming the League.