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Arab Leaders Discuss Crises Facing Region at 28th Summit in Amman

  • Edward Yeranian

Arab leaders and head of delegations attend the 28th Ordinary Summit of the Arab League at the Dead Sea, Jordan, March 29, 2017.

The leaders of 21 Arab states examined the conflicts and crises facing their countries and the region as the 28th Arab League summit officially got underway Wednesday in the Jordanian capital Amman.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II was applauded after he delivered the keynote address to fellow Arab heads of state at the 28th Arab League summit in Amman.

He underscored the major crises and conflicts plaguing the Arab world, including terrorism, the Palestinian issue, and the bloody conflicts in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen.

He says that terrorism represents, above all, a threat to the Muslim world and that [Arab leaders] must join efforts with others to resolve the problem.

King Abdullah urged everyone to work to help alleviate the refugee crisis undermining the Arab world.

A section of twenty one kings, presidents and top officials from the Arab League summit pose for a group photo, at a gathering near the Dead Sea in Jordan, March 29, 2017.
A section of twenty one kings, presidents and top officials from the Arab League summit pose for a group photo, at a gathering near the Dead Sea in Jordan, March 29, 2017.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit stressed that one of every two refugees in the world is an Arab, and he deplored the inability of Arab leaders to put an end to the conflicts besetting the region.

He says the most important issues and conflicts facing the Arab world unfortunately are not matters in the leaders' hands, such as Syria and Libya, and they are forced to sit back and watch.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was a guest of the summit, deplored the refugee crisis that has created “anguish,” condemning “waves of populism” across the globe, causing “developed countries to close their borders” to refugees. He added that disagreements among Arab leaders make resolving conflicts more difficult.

“Divisions in the Arab world have opened the door to foreign intervention and manipulation, breeding instability, sectarian strife, and terrorism,” he said.

European Union Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini was also a guest of the summit, telling Arab leaders they must work together.

“Our common region is going through years of suffering and peace, and reconciliation can only come through a truly collective and cooperative approach," she said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi said he believes the only way to tackle terrorism is to attack its root causes.

He says that in addition to a military component, terrorism also must be attacked on social, cultural, economic, and religious levels, with the help of religious institutions.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad al-Thani, urged pressure on the international community to put an end to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas called on Israel, in his words, to “put an end to its occupation” of Palestinian territories.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun painted a somber picture of the current situation in the Arab world, underscoring the need to break out of the bloody impasse.

Aoun says he wishes he could discuss the achievements and progress being made in the Arab world, but the sounds of explosions and visions of death are overwhelming all other considerations.

He says the Arab world is awash with “war, massacres, destruction, death, and bloodshed.”

He asks, “Who has won the war, and who has lost it? Everyone has lost and everyone is a victim.”

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