NOUAKCHOTT: Critical conditions, hazardous events and accelerating changes continue to undermine the stability of the region and waste time and efforts at the expense of development and the realization of peoples’ expectations in Arab countries, HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah stressed in a statement to the opening session of the 27th Arab Summit that kicked off in the Mauritanian capital yesterday.
They have also added fresh and dangerous dimensions to the challenges facing the joint Arab action, the Amir said. He said that the situation in Syria is getting graver and the volume of destruction, killing and homelessness is doubling, together with suffering of the “Syrian brothers”. HH the Amir also referred to the efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people. Kuwait has hosted the first, second and third international humanitarian pledging conferences for Syria, and co-chaired the fourth one, he said.
The humanitarian crisis in Syria is aggravating as the international community is watching, and has unfortunately failed to conclude a political solution to end the suffering, raise Syrians’ hopes and in the meantime contribute to rid the world of the evils of terrorism that has come to pose a threat to world stability and has doubled victims, the Amir said.
On Yemen, HH the Amir referred to hopes that the conflict in the country would come to an end. Although the political consultations for peace in Yemen Kuwait has been hosting for more than two months have not reached an agreement to end the destructive conflict there so far, hopes are pinned on the Yemeni parties to conclude one that upholds national interests and spares Yemenis’ blood, he said. The present war in this dear part of the Arab world will only increase destruction, killing and homelessness in Yemen, as well as pose threat to the country’s national unity, the Amir said.
Referring to Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Sudan, HH the Amir said that the situation in the four countries remains a source of deep worry and threat to security and stability. Brothers’ suffering in these countries and the challenges they face are tremendous, and “prompt us to stand by them and support whatever they do to put end to their suffering,” he said. HH the Amir added that Kuwait intends to host an international conference on Somalia “to contribute together to providing education that helps realize the aspired stability and development” for Somalis.
On the Mideast peace process, the Amir said that Israel’s intransigence and arrogance remain to constitute an obstacle to realizing the aspired comprehensive and permanent peace that goes in line with resolutions of the international community and the Arab initiative. The Amir lauded France for hosting an international conference with an initiative to relaunch peace efforts in the region, wishing it success. According to the Amir, Kuwait is planning to host an international conference on the suffering of the Palestinian children. The proposed event will shed light on Israel’s violations of international conventions and norms on children’s rights, he said.
The Amir referred to relations with Iran, saying that any constructive dialogue needs favorable conditions. He said that the Islamic republic needs to respect the rules and norms of international law on good neighborliness, and also sovereignty of other countries, refraining from interfering in their internal affairs.
Meanwhile, HH the Amir said terrorism, “which we are all facing, remains a threat to our security and a motive for exerting utmost efforts to face its evils and hazards”. “We realize that the conformation will be fierce and requires the international community to join efforts to deter plans and criminal acts of terrorist organizations,” he said. It is a comprehensive confrontation with various dimensions, educational and cultural and religious and it is “a responsibility of our countries, with their official and popular bodies, as part of the international community,” the Amir concluded.
The Amir started his statement thanking Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and the people for hosting the 27th Arab Summit, as well as the hospitality and warm welcome they have manifested. He also thanked Egyptian President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi for the efforts to enhance the joint Arab action during Egypt’s presidency of the 26th Summit. He congratulated new Arab League Secretary General Ahmad Abul-Gheit for taking over the post. He also thanked the League’s secretariat for their hard efforts to prepare for the Nouakschott summit. The Amir also commended the great and distinguished efforts by the Arab League’s former chief Nabil Al-Araby in support of Arab joint action.
The summit was cut back to a single day yesterday due to the absence of the heavyweight leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Sisi stayed at home because of “a busy domestic schedule”, while Saudi King Salman’s no-show was due to “health reasons”, an Arab League source told AFP. Opening the talks, Egypt’s premier Sherif Ismail called in the name of Sisi for “an Arab strategy of struggle against terrorism”. “We must recast the religious language that terrorist elements exploit to their own ends to sow terror, death and destruction,” he said. Terrorists were deflecting Islam’s message of peace, he added.
Ould Abdel Aziz, who is hosting the summit, also slammed the “blind violence of terrorists” as well as foreign interventions that feed instability in the Arab world. The president praised Kuwait for hosting the conciliation consultations among the Yemeni parties, whose nation is threatened with partition. “We highly admire the State of Kuwait sponsorship of the consultations among the Yemeni parties and His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah’s keenness on bringing together the Yemeni parties for reaching a comprehensive settlement to stop the destructive war,” he stated.
The summit, originally scheduled for two full days, is to focus primarily on security and on plans for a joint force across a region fraught with tension, notably in Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and the Palestinian territories. Arab nations endorsed the idea of an anti-terror force at their last summit in March 2015 in Egypt but have since failed to agree on setting it up. Continuing splits over the question led Morocco last February to give up plans to host this year’s Arab League summit.
And pre-summit ministerial talks showed there were also sharp divisions over attitudes towards tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as over Turkey’s incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraq refuses to condemn Iran while Saudi Arabia refuses to take a stand against Turkey. It is the first Arab League summit hosted by Mauritania since it joined the organization in 1973. The Mauritanian president also called for fresh efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that regional instability would continue until the issue was settled. – Agencies