| 10 December 2023, Sunday |

Arab, Muslim leaders meet in Riyadh to stop Gaza escalation

The foreign ministers of Arab countries are meeting in Riyadh on Thursday, to prepare for an emergency Arab summit which will be held on Saturday to discuss the means to stop the war in Gaza.

The Saudi capital will host the leaders of the 22 Arab countries, who will convene in an extraordinary session of the Arab League Council, to consult, coordinate, and discuss ways to confront the continuing escalation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

In addition, Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as chairman of the current Islamic Summit, will hold on Sunday an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries in Riyadh to discuss the developments in Gaza.

On Oct. 18, the OIC held a meeting at the level of foreign ministers and called for an immediate ceasefire.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, former Jordanian Minister of Information Samih Al-Maaytah said that Arab action was focused on exerting “political pressure on the US administration to reach a ceasefire, and to alleviate the human suffering of the Palestinians.”

A full ceasefire “is neither on Israel’s nor Washington’s agenda,” he said, explaining that the Arab leaders were seeking a truce that would allow for increased aid, a temporary ceasefire, treatment of the wounded, and strengthening the medical apparatus’ capabilities in Gaza.”

Al-Maaytah pointed to the Arab stance on rejecting the Israeli plan to displace part of the people of Gaza to Egypt.

For his part, Dr. Khattar Abu Diab, professor of international relations at the University of Paris, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Extending the conflict for days and months, according to field data, means the prolongation of the Palestinian tragedy, especially since international efforts to push Israel to stop its hostilities are not sufficient.”

“Therefore, there is reliance on Arab diplomacy, as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia spearheads efforts and communications aimed at accelerating the end of the war and reaching a just solution, as an inevitable prelude to the expected peace track in the region.”

Abu Diab stressed that Arab and Islamic summits were an opportunity to move towards this direction and form a pressure force that will be heard by Washington and the international community.

“It is noteworthy that on the eve of the Arab and Islamic summits, Riyadh’s move began to give preliminary results, with Washington exerting pressure on Israel to accept a humanitarian truce and Blinken’s pledges about what he called “equal rights” of the Palestinians and Israelis,” he remarked.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat