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Arab League Summit begins in Jeddah

Arab League Summit begins in Jeddah

The 32nd Arab League summit brings together 22 member countries and five observer nations in Saudi Arabia’s coastal town

Marisha Singh
King Salman and Prince Mohammad bin Salman invite members to the 32nd Arab League Summit. Image Credit: Saudi Arabia's MOFA

Saudi Arabia is hosting the 32nd Arab League summit in Jeddah on Friday, May 19. The pan-Arab summit brings together 22 member countries represented by the respective heads of state and government along with five observer nations.

The kingdom is hosting the summit after taking over the rotating presidency from Algeria. The Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf handed over the presidency to the kingdom’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan during a meeting for Arab foreign ministers in Jeddah on May 17.

At the preparatory meet, Prince Faisal underscored the need for unity among Arab countries in order to overcome mutual challenges and difficulties among members. “More effort should be exerted to strengthen the joint Arab work to find solutions to these challenges so that our region can be safe and stable,” Prince Faisal said.

Arab League Summit

The multi-nation meet comes at a time as various geo-political developments are impacting the grouping’s members, including the ongoing situation in Sudan, the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and Syria’s readmission to the body. Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit voiced hope the meet would help solve Arab problems and strengthen the Arab world. During his participation in the preparatory ministerial meeting, Aboul Gheit said, “the need is to cling to the national interests of our countries while continuing to work as a unified bloc.”

Various heads of state were seen arriving at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, including Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad. The leader will return to the Arab fold 12 years after Syria’s suspension from the league. The country was extended an invitation to attend the Arab League Summit by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.

Syria’s Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad acknowledged Riyadh’s efforts at the foreign ministers’ meet in ensuring its participation and said, “Saudi Arabia has exerted tremendous effort to plan for the meeting and embrace all Arab countries. We are very grateful that all countries are now present in this summit, and this is an achievement for the role that the kingdom plays,” Mekdad told Saudi Arabia’s al-Ekhbariya state television.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also been invited to attend the Arab League summit as a guest of honour. He is expected to make a quick stop in Jeddah before he joins the G7 leaders’ summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

The summit will help showcase Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 programme that was launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify the country’s economy away from its dependence on oil. As part of the national agenda, the kingdom has invested in a range of giga projects – NEOM, Red Sea development project, Diriyah, ROSHN and more which are projected to reshape Saudi Arabia’s real estate landscape as well as economy.

Image credit: MOFA, Saudi Arabia


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