News / Middle East

Arab States Have Little to Show for Tense Kuwait Summit

Dignitaries attend the closing session of the Arab League Summit at Bayan Palace, Kuwait, March 26, 2014.
Dignitaries attend the closing session of the Arab League Summit at Bayan Palace, Kuwait, March 26, 2014.
Reuters
Arab leaders, at loggerheads over inter-Arab issues including Egypt and Syria, offered little evidence of progress after a two-day summit in Kuwait on Wednesday.

Gulf opposition to Qatar's financial backing for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamist rebels in Syria burst into the open last month when Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain
followed suit.

In a declaration read out at the end of the summit, Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah said only that the 22 members of the Arab League would "pledge to work decisively to put a final end to divisions".

It was not initially clear whether the document even had the status of the communiques customarily issued after Arab League summits.

"The summit is not in agreement, even though Kuwait really tried," one Western diplomat told Reuters. "The Saudis did not want it, they wanted to be very firm with Qatar. There are problems about the Brotherhood, the future of Egypt, Syria. Kuwait did all it could to have a consensus. But the Saudis are very firm."

The summit came three weeks after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar, accusing it of failing to abide by an accord not to interfere in fellow Arab states' internal affairs.

Officials have said the spat was over Qatar's support for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which was ejected from power by the military last year after mass protests against the Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, and has now been outlawed.

Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim-led Gulf monarchies are keen to prevent Islamist groups gaining political influence and undermining their hold on power.
When Morsi was deposed last year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait stepped in with financial backing, while Egypt said it would return funding from Qatar transferred when Mursi was in power.

Backing different rebels

Wealthy energy powers Saudi Arabia and Qatar have also clashed over Syria, where they have backed different rebel groups that have also fought each other.

The final statement condemned "mass killing committed by the Syrian regime's forces against the unarmed people" and reiterated the Arab League's backing for "a political solution to the Syrian crisis in accordance with the Geneva One
declaration".

That declaration calls for a transition of power in Syria, which is suspended from the Arab League. But two rounds of talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and rebels, brokered by U.N. and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, collapsed without a result.

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah said Arab states had no alternative to a political agreement.

"We must focus on the political solution," he told a joint news conference with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby at the end of the summit.

Elaraby said the meeting had agreed that the exiled opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) would be invited to attend Arab League meetings as an extraordinary measure. But Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, whose country has seen Syria's Sunni-led rebellion feed a Sunni anti-government insurgency on its own side of the border, made clear Iraq did not approve of the SNC being accorded such
status.

"Where is their sovereignty? Where is their authority?" Zebari told Reuters. "They are not a state, they don't have a government even."

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid