By Thomas Dupaquier
Rabat – The 28th summit of the Arab League opened this Wednesday, March 29 in Amman, Jordan, without the participation of King Mohammed VI.
Minster of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Salaheddine Mezouar flew to Jordan to participate on behalf of King Mohammed VI.
While most head of states of member countries are attending the meeting, Mohammed VI decided to abstain from the summit, being instead represented by the Foreign Affairs Minister Salaheddine Mezouar.
The King had received a prior invitation from the King Abdallah II of Jordan, transmitted by the Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs Nasser Judeh. In response, King Mohammed VI had voiced hope that Jordan would host a successful summit but never officially confirmed he would attend.
King Abdallah II has personally travelled to Morocco from March 22nd to 24th to discuss the main challenges facing the Arab world today and to reiterate his invitation. King Mohammed VI had refrained from attending the last twelve summits but was expected to be present in the Jordanian capital.
This absence comes a year after Morocco refused to hold the summit stating the ongoing challenges in the Arab World. Morocco had announced that hosting the Arab Summit would not enable taking any decision that could improve the situation of Arab peoples but rather would only be an occasion to take ordinary resolutions and deliver speeches, giving a false impression of unity and solidarity between Arab States.
The 2016 Arab League summit was eventually held in late July in Nouakchott, Mauritania after the country adamantly supported holding the summit despite Morocco’s withdrawal. Holding the summit was a must for Mauritania in order to keep the Arab league running. However, only seven head of states attended the summit.
Thus, the 28th Arab League Summit was generating a lot of expectations with the expected presence of almost all the member countries. In addition, the summit is also set to include the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, as well as leaders from the European Union, the African Union, the Arab Parliament and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The Arab League is a political organization founded in March 1945, which seeks to help integrate Arab states economically, and solve conflicts involving members without asking for foreign assistance. Starting with only six members in 1945, the Arab League now counts 22 members, and 4 observer states.
The members of the Arab League traditionally hold an annual summit in late March in one of the member countries to discuss current affairs in the Arab world and to plan joint Arab actions for the key issues facing the region.
This year’s meeting is scheduled to address the latest developments in the Palestinian question, the Arab peace initiative, the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen, the fight against terrorism, refugee issues, and ways to strengthen and consolidate inter-Arab relations.