After two years of postponement owing to the epidemic, the Arab League has stated that its annual summit scheduled for March 22 in Algiers would be postponed due to COVID-19.
“Every year, the summit is conducted in March, but this year there has been a delay,” Hossam Zaki, assistant secretary general of the pan-Arab organization, said in televised remarks Friday, a week after returning to Cairo after a visit to Algiers.
The most recent Arab League summit was held in March 2019 in Tunis. Due to the pandemic, the previous two years’ events were canceled.
Algeria, according to Zaki, “preferred the alternative” of postponing the meeting since the critical mass of Arab leaders and high-ranking officials required for the summit could not be assured owing to security concerns.
During their scheduled meeting on March 9, Arab foreign ministers are likely to announce a new date for the summit.
Zaki stated that the delay was due to “no political motives,” but that the time may be utilized to “better political conditions” in the region.
The conference is significant for Algeria, which has been striving to broaden its political area of influence in the face of rising tensions with Morocco.
The agenda for this year’s conference has not been announced, although the Arab world continues to be beset by several conflicts.
These range from Yemen’s conflict, which has killed almost 400,000 people since 2015, to Sudan’s 2021 coup, which resulted in the country’s suspension from the African Union, as well as persistent crises in Libya and Lebanon.