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Upcoming Arab Summit in Bahrain ‘historical’, experts say

Upcoming Arab Summit in Bahrain ‘historical’, experts say
14 May 2024 09:00

AHMED SHABAAN (MANAMA)

Arab experts and diplomats have underscored the significance of convening the Arab League Council at the summit level for its 33rd regular session in the Kingdom of Bahrain, noting that this meeting is particularly crucial at a time when the region faces severe political and economic crises, including the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Speaking to Aletihad, the experts lauded the decision to host the Arab Summit in Bahrain for the first time, viewing it as a pivotal opportunity to forge a new phase of cohesive Arab strategy and decision-making amid escalating conflicts in the Middle East.

The summit, scheduled for May 16 in Bahrain, is seen as a historic and critically important event. It occurs amidst multiple challenges and conflicts across the Arab world, not only politically and security-wise but also geopolitically, including the ongoing strife in Sudan and persistent crises in Yemen, Libya, Syria, and Somalia.

The Kingdom of Bahrain, under the leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and in collaboration with the Arab League, has been commended for its thorough preparation and organisation of the summit.

These efforts aim to ensure the summit’s success by providing all necessary facilities and services. This hosting is deemed a significant political event, marking the first time Manama will hold the summit, highlighting Bahrain’s longstanding diplomatic efforts to strengthen Arab relations and expand its scope. It also supports the Arab work process to enhance regional security and stability.

Professor of Political Science at Al-Quds University, Dr. Jihad Al-Harazin, emphasised the summit’s timing and location, reflecting a period of consultation among Arab leaders, noting that this is particularly relevant given the broader regional context of unrest, not only concerning the Palestinian issue but also with developments in the Red Sea region.

Al-Harazin noted the summit’s focus on the Palestinian cause, discussing strategies to support the resilience of the Palestinian people, protect their rights, and counter Israeli displacement plans.

Moreover, Dr. Al-Harazin pointed out that the summit aims to alleviate ongoing tensions and conflicts across various Arab nations, including Yemen, Sudan, Syria, and Iraq, stressing the urgent need for calm to address Israeli actions against the Palestinians effectively.

He also highlighted the expected political resolutions from the summit, advocating for a peaceful resolution and a concerted stance by the US and the international community against unacceptable Israeli practices.

These include an immediate halt to aggression in Gaza, aiding the Palestinian people, and endorsing a package of support.

Dr. Al-Harazin called for a robust and unified Arab position on Palestine, advocating for an immediate cessation of hostilities, a comprehensive peace leading to a two-state solution, ending the occupation, and establishing an independent Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital. Saudi journalist Mohammed Al-Haidar highlighted the historic nature of the Arab Summit being hosted for the first time in Bahrain, acknowledging the Kingdom’s awareness of its significant responsibility amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Speaking to Aletihad, Al-Haidar noted that Bahrain had initiated early consultations with Arab leaders to ensure diverse outcomes in collaboration with the Arab League Secretariat-General.

He emphasised that King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s invitation stressed the importance of personal participation by Arab leaders to address the serious challenges facing the Arab world.

“Bahrain understands the heightened dangers and instability in the region and is committed to resolving Arab disputes and countering external interferences, aiming for unified and impactful resolutions that enhance Arab solidarity and influence international stances,” Al-Haidar stated.

Former Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister and Deputy President of the Egyptian Council for African Affairs, Ambassador Dr. Salah Halima, lauded the timing of the Arab Summit in Bahrain, identifying it as a critical moment for articulating a cohesive Arab response to pressing issues, particularly the Palestinian conflict.

Halima stressed the urgency of discussing the broad implications of the Israeli aggression on Gaza and the global condemnation it has sparked.

He emphasised the necessity for Arab nations to adopt decisive positions and actions that safeguard regional security and stability.

Qatari media figure and writer Dr. Abdullah Faraj Al-Marzouqi regarded Bahrain’s role as host of the Arab Summit as a pivotal opportunity to assert Arab positions on the Palestinian issue amidst ongoing tensions.

Al-Marzouqi expressed confidence in the summit’s success and anticipated that the Arab Gulf’s leadership during this session would strengthen the collective Arab and Islamic response to defend Palestinian interests and seek an immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza.

He voiced hope that the summit would produce significant decisions aimed at ending the conflict and facilitating humanitarian relief to Gaza. Walid Al-Abareh, a political analyst from Yemen and President of the Gulf Studies Centre, described the 33rd session of the Arab League Council in Bahrain as crucial, particularly in light of the Israeli conflict in Gaza and its severe humanitarian repercussions, which have drawn international criticism.

Al-Abareh highlighted the tragic situation of over a million displaced Palestinians in Rafah and underscored the summit’s vital role in addressing crises in conflict-ridden Arab nations, stressing the significance of the Arab League’s role in navigating these crises, noting the region’s high expectations for the League’s interventions.

The summit aims to alleviate ongoing tensions and conflicts across various Arab nations, including Yemen, Sudan, Syria, and Iraq King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s invitation stressed the importance of personal participation by Arab leaders to address the serious challenges facing the Arab world Halima stressed the urgency of discussing the broad implications of the Israeli aggression on Gaza

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