On the second and final day of the 31st Arab League summit in Algeria, Arab leaders sought consensus on longstanding issues that have divided member states. 

An Algerian military band played the country’s national anthem Wednesday, as visiting Arab heads of state paid homage to the host country on the anniversary of its own revolution that brought independence from France 60 years ago. President Abdel Mejid Tebboune presided over the summit. 

Arab League head Ahmed Aboul Gheit noted various key issues under discussion, including the current Cold War climate affecting the world and an ongoing food crisis facing the Arab states. 

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi told fellow heads of state that insecurity in one part of the Arab world affects Arab states in other areas, and that the scurity of the Gulf “affects us all.”

The head of Libya’s Presidential Council, Khaled al-Mneishri, told Arab leaders that his country is still seeking security and stability, 10 years after its revolution that toppled veteran leader Moammar Gadhafi. 

He said the Libyan people are still trying to rebuild their state on the basis of freedom, democracy and law, but that goal remains under threat locally, regionally and internationally. He added that he wanted the support of all Arab brethren in demanding that outside mercenaries leave the country.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas addressed the conference Wednesday, criticizing Israel. He said Israel’s policies leave Palestinians with no choice but to reconsider all agreements that they have made with it.

Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates have normalized ties with Israel in recent years — a move strongly opposed by Algeria and some other Arab countries. 

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan said his country supports the security and stability of Syria, in addition to all Arab and international efforts to bring about a political solution that protects the indivisibility of the country.

The Syrian government was not invited to this year’s summit.

Fouad Hussein, Iraq’s foreign minister, told Arab media his country is trying to call international and Arab attention to the military interference of neighboring states, so they may put an end to it. 

Iraq is not looking to impose sanctions on Iran and Turkey, and is not looking for conflict with those states, he said, but it does want to draw attention to what is going on so those countries understand that their actions have major consequences inside Iraq, regionally and internationally.

Hussein apparently was referencing military action by Iran and Turkey in Iraq’s Kurdish regions.

Ibrahim Dukheiri, an Arab League bureaucrat, told journalists that several of the major issues being worked on at the summit and among Arab diplomats include food and agricultural security and increasing trade among the Arab states.

He said that the league has made several decisions, especially regarding food security and agricultural cooperation among Arab states, and the issue of increasing trade among them.

This year’s summit took place without the presence of several major Arab leaders, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. Observers say the absence of these leaders gives less clout to the summit’s pronouncements. 

 

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