The 32nd Arab Summit was held in Jeddah. A first achievement, given that the Arab League has not always succeeded in convening such meetings in the past… Syria’s reintegration, Arab unity and a surprise appearance by the Ukrainian president were the highlights of the Arab summit.
A successful summit. On May 19, the 22 countries of the Arab League met in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to discuss the major issues facing the region and the world. The event was marked by the return of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syria officially rejoined the organization after a twelve-year suspension due to the repression of the protest movement against the regime.
At the end of the day, the Syrian head of state held talks with Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman, marking the resumption of relations between the two countries after an eleven-year break. Earlier in the day, he had met Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed, as well as Sheikh Mansour ben Zayed, the Emirati Vice-President, whose country played a very active role in facilitating Damascus’ return to the Arab League.
The communiqué issued at the end of the summit highlighted “the need to take concrete and effective measures to achieve a settlement” of the conflict in Syria. Arab leaders also agreed to “strengthen cooperation” on issues “related to refugees, terrorism and drug trafficking”. The war in Syria, where fighting has virtually ceased, has resulted in the deaths of around half a million people, as well as millions of refugees and displaced persons.
In addition to the solidity of the organization and the work done to prepare the ground, the main feature of this summit was the length and content of the speeches. Each head of state had just five minutes to deliver his or her speech, and this decision made all the difference. Indeed, for the first time, most of the speeches were clear and comprehensible to all listeners. This contrasted with previous summits, where speakers seemed to have no regard for time, making their speeches interminable and incoherent.
Crown Prince Mohammed’s speech was concise and clear, focusing on key issues including Syria, the Palestinian cause, the Sudanese and Yemeni crises, and the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine.
The Crown Prince assured “neighboring and friendly countries in the West and East” that “we are moving towards peace, goodness, cooperation and construction in a way that realizes the interests of our peoples and safeguards the rights of our nations. We will not allow our region to become a battleground. All we have to do is turn the page on the past, remembering the painful years of conflict the region has endured, which have brought suffering to its peoples and hampered the development process”.
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