Arab League Summit with the expectation of promoting peace and development

The 32nd Arab League (AL) Summit has opened in Jeddah City, Saudi Arabia. In particular, this summit witnessed Syria rejoin the AL “common house”.
Leaders of countries of the 32nd Arab League Summit pose for a group photo. (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)
Leaders of countries of the 32nd Arab League Summit pose for a group photo. (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Facing a series of urgent issues that need to be resolved, the summit has been considered an opportunity for Arab countries and the region to strengthen solidarity and unify their stances, to deal with common challenges.

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has travelled to Saudi Arabia to attend the AL Summit, marking Syria's re-integration into the region.

Taking place at an important time, when the Arab world in particular and the entire Middle East-North Africa region in general, are witnessing new developments, the summit is expected to find a common voice on issues to address crises in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan, as well as promote the resumption of the Israel-Palestine peace process.

These are major challenges facing the AL member states because these crises are threatening the peace, security and stability of the region.

A range of issues related to politics, security, economy, society and culture were also discussed, to strengthen linkages to deal with challenges, promote internal strength, and facilitate hunger and poverty reduction and economic development.

This summit took place in a favourable atmosphere as several Arab and Muslim countries are getting closer together. The normalisation of relations by Saudi Arabia with both Syria and Iran, while Egypt is also promoting efforts to move towards the resumption of relations with these two countries, is expected to gradually bring about a global political solution to address crises in Syria and Yemen.

However, some “hot spots” such as the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the armed conflict between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) group, are negatively impacting the security and stability of the region.

One of the central topics discussed at the summit was finding a solution to the conflict in Sudan because if not resolved, the East African country risks being drawn into a full-blown civil war. Besides, the persistent conflict in Sudan can also turn this strategically located country into a “hot spot” of terrorism, as well as a terrible humanitarian crisis.

The Council of the Arab League has issued a resolution on the establishment of an Arab ministerial contact group to liaise with parties in Sudan and influential countries, to solve the crisis in Sudan. The contact group will include representatives from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the AL.

The escalating violence between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave, is raising fears that it could erupt into war, threatening the stability of the region. With Egypt acting as a mediator, Israel and Palestinian militants have reached a truce, but a comprehensive solution to the Middle East peace process still requires more work. The crises in Syria, Yemen, and Sudan are worsening the humanitarian situation in these countries. Preventing the outbreak of terrible humanitarian crises is also a goal set by AL members.

Regarding Syria, the AL countries need to find a consensus to bring Syria back to the Arab community. The AL suspended Syria's membership in November 2011. Saudi Arabia has played an important role in promoting Syria's return to the AL, but Qatar remains the country most strongly opposed to normalising relations with Syria. However, after the decision to re-admit Damascus, Doha said it would not become an obstacle to the Arab consensus. The AL also agreed to set up a ministerial liaison committee to seek a comprehensive solution to the Syrian crisis.

Saudi Arabia said it wanted all Arab countries to join forces to achieve the goals of the summit, support joint action and promote development in the Arab world. With the efforts of the host country and the determination of AL members, the summit is expected to create positive momentum, to promote peace and development in the region.