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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid