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‘Bahrain Summit’ begins today, Palestinian issue tops agenda

‘Bahrain Summit’ begins today, Palestinian issue tops agenda
16 May 2024 08:45

AHMED MURAD (MANAMA)

The 33rd ordinary session of the Arab League Summit, hosted in Manama, begins today under the chairmanship of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa,  King of Bahrain. The summit will be attended by Arab leaders or their representatives, along with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, many of whom arrived on Wednesday, while other participants are expected to arrive this morning.

The summit’s agenda, drafted by Arab foreign ministers following a series of preparatory meetings, encompasses a broad spectrum of topics including politics, development, security, economy, culture, and media.

The agenda and the draft “Bahrain Declaration” are set for adoption by the attending Arab leaders. Key items on the draft agenda include 23 points that address various facets of joint Arab efforts across political, economic, social, cultural, and security domains, as well as cooperation with international and regional organisations.

The agenda features discussions on the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict, addressing political developments, the activation of the Arab Peace Initiative, and Israeli violations in occupied Jerusalem. It also includes support for the Palestinian state budget, the resilience of the Palestinian people, monitoring of settlement activities, the separation barrier, prisoners, refugees, and the status of UNRWA.

The summit takes stage amid increasing international movements toward recognising The State of Palestine, reinforcing the global acceptance of an independent Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and marking a crucial moment for increasing international support for Palestinian rights in accordance with international resolutions.

Ambassador Barakat Al-Farra, former Palestinian Ambassador to Cairo and its permanent representative to the Arab League, stated that the 33rd Arab Summit lends substantial political and diplomatic support to the Palestinian people’s right to establish their state within the June 4, 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. He highlighted that the strong backing by the Bahrain Summit for the establishment of a Palestinian state aligns with the reaffirmation of a just solution to the refugee issue as per UN General Assembly Resolution 194, which advocates for the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes and compensation for their losses.

Al-Farra emphasised the critical need for a unified Arab stance, supported by all Arab nations, to facilitate the implementation of the two-state solution on the ground, as this would effectively pressure the United States to compel Israel to accept the two-state solution. He also noted that the Bahrain Summit marks a significant step towards the establishment of a Palestinian state, enhanced by the increasing number of countries recognising the State of Palestine, thus adding both Arab and international momentum towards realising this long-held aspiration. To date, 137 of the 193 UN member states have recognised the State of Palestine, with countries like Ireland, Spain, Slovenia, Malta, and potentially Belgium soon to follow.

Bahraini political analyst Saad Rashid underscored that the Palestinian issue, particularly the establishment of a Palestinian state within the June 4, 1967 borders, is a principal focus of the summit. He said that the summit aims to bolster global acceptance and support for the Palestinian state through concerted Arab efforts led by key nations such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

Speaking to Aletihad, Rashid stressed the Arab consensus on the need to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in line with the Arab Peace Initiative from the 2002 Beirut Summit, as well as international resolutions which support the two-state solution as the sole path to ending the conflict and securing peace, security, and stability in the region.

The draft agenda for the 33rd Arab Summit also features an item on Arab affairs and national security, encompassing issues such as solidarity with Lebanon, developments in Syria, support for peace and development in Sudan, and situations in Libya and Yemen. It further includes support for Somalia, the Comoros, and the peaceful resolution of the Djibouti-Eritrean border conflict.

Additionally, the agenda addresses international political matters, including the upcoming second Arab-China summit in Beijing, establishing a partnership forum between the Arab League and ASEAN, and endorsements for Dr. Khaled Al-Anani of Egypt as Director-General of UNESCO, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf of Djibouti for Chair of the African Union Commission, and Fawzia Yusuf Adam of Somalia for the same role.

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