Arab leaders hold summit in Doha

March 26, 2013

The 24th Arab Summit began its deliberations in Doha today with the participation of numerous Arab heads of state and senior officials. On behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz headed the Saudi delegation.

The meeting was chaired by Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and included the participation of Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; King Abdullah II of Jordan; Lebanese President Michel Suleiman; Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir; Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi; Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi; Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas; Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud; Libyan Interim Prime Minister Ali Zidan; Tunisian President Al-Munsef Al-Marzouki; Mauritanian President Mohammed Wild Abdulaziz; Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh; Algerian Prime Minister Abdulmalik Salal; Iraqi Vice President Khudair Al-Khuzai; and UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

The Syrian seat was filled by representatives of the opposition, led by former President of the Syrian National Council Mouaz al-Khatib.

In his opening speech, the Qatari Emir proposed the organization of a mini-summit in Egypt with the goal of facilitating reconciliation between Palestinian factions. In addition, he called for the establishment of a $1 billion fund to support Al-Quds [Jerusalem], offering an inaugural contribution from Qatar of $250 million.

During his own remarks, Crown Prince Salman noted that, once again, the Palestinian issue is at the top of the Arab world’s agenda. “The Arab-Israeli dispute, which has lasted for more than six decades, will continue to be flaming and tense unless the Arab Palestinian people in Palestine acquire their legitimate rights,” he said. “This cannot be possible unless there is change in the Israeli government policies and its dealing with the solutions and initiatives on the table.” Crown Prince Salman stressed the importance of a united Arab front on the issue, noting, “The United Nations General Assembly’s decision to grant Palestine non-member observer status in the international organization has reflected the overwhelming Arab will before the world community, an achievement that we have to exploit and build on to construct the other fundamentals of the independent Palestinian state along the 1967 border with the holy city of Al-Quds as its capital with the aim to upgrade it to a full-member of the United Nations organization.”

The Crown Prince also addressed the tragedy in Syria, warning, “The rhythm of killings and destruction practiced by the Syrian regime against the Syrian people is increasing with the use of various kinds of mass destruction weapons.” He accused the Assad regime of attempting to quash any Arab or international efforts to solve the crisis with a political solution, despite its feigned acceptance of various initiatives. Unfortunately, Crown Prince Salman said, most countries are sitting on the sidelines and watching the carnage, while other nations are actively assisting the Assad government. He stated, “The continuous deterioration of the humanitarian situation due to the influx of the displaced and refugees will definitely have serious implications on the security and stability of the region unless the world community ends its division on this issue and provides the legitimate Syrian opposition with its political and material needs. Fortunately, all the opposition factions are now orchestrated under the banner of the Syrian National Coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, both in the Ministerial Council of the Arab League and within the Arab summits.”