The 31st Arab summit kicked off in Algeria on Tuesday with discussions focusing on reaching consensus on divisive affairs in the Arab world.
Dignitaries stressed that the Palestinian cause remains pivotal to the region, underscoring the need to find a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the 2002 Arab peace initiative.
The summit will conclude on Wednesday with a closing statement that tackles the most pressing issues in the region. Efforts are underway to reach consensus over divisive issues and discussions have been held over reform.
More calls were made to reach more effective mechanisms for Arab cooperation and consensus on condemning foreign meddling in the internal affairs of Arab countries.
In opening remarks on Tuesday, head of the previous Arab summit, Tunisian President Kais Saied called for bolstering joint Arab cooperation.
He urged introducing deep reforms to its system of work based on “new mechanisms and innovative approaches that rely on transparent and frank dialogue that takes into consideration the priorities and challenges of the region.”
He noted that there can be no peace in the region without the Palestinians reclaiming all of their rights and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Head of the current Arab summit, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune called for the formation of an “Arab committee that can hold talks with the United Nations over Palestine’s demand to be granted full membership at the organization.”
He stressed Algiers’ commitment to the 2002 peace initiative, saying it was the “cornerstone for fair and comprehensive peace that would meet the aspirations of the Palestinian people for the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
He hailed the reconciliation agreement that was reached by Palestinian factions when they met in Algeria ahead of the summit.
On Syria, Yemen and Libya, Tebboune called on internal, regional and international parties to engage in dialogue and seek solutions that enjoy consensus in order to allow the people to achieve their valid aspiration for freedom and dignity.
Furthermore, he noted that reform remained one of the greatest challenges. “It has become pressing to introduce deep radical reforms to the system of joint Arab work so that the Arab League can play its role in remaining abreast developments in the world,” he stressed.
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit remarked that the “unprecedented changes in the world over the decades” make holding the summit a pressing need.
“It is an opportunity for us to set our affairs straight and discuss our affairs and stances in a world that is changing rapidly at an alarming rate,” he added.
“Our Arab countries have a pressing need to form a comprehensive strategy to approach crises,” he declared. He said that the developments in the world are “deepening problems in our countries.”
The closing statement of the summit, which will conclude on Wednesday evening, will include recommendations related to Palestinians and Israeli violations in the occupied territories.
It will tackle the situation in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.
It will also address reform in the Arab League. Algeria has been demanding the reform since it last hosted an Arab summit in 2005. No consensus was reached at the time.
The issue was tackled during a meeting of Arab foreign ministers on Saturday and Sunday.
Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League Hossam Zaki said consensus was reached over all issues that were addressed at the meeting in spite of “some tensions that have been contained.”
The tensions have been tied to reservations expressed by Algeria over Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita accusing Iran of training members of the Algiers-backed Polisario Front.
Fifteen Arab leaders were present at the Algeria summit, as well as guests of honor such as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Senegalese President Macky Sall.