(front R-L) Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Jordan's King Abdullah II, S
CAIRO – 26 February 2018: Holding the 29th Arab League Summit in Riyadh in March is still doubted due to recent regional developments. On March 23, the Arab Summit should be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but this date seems unconfirmed for several reasons.
Egypt shall witness a presidential election by the end of March, in which Egyptians have to choose between only two contenders; Incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Ghad Party’s Chairperson Moussa Moustafa Moussa.
A high-profile participation in the 29th Arab Summit in Riyadh will be difficult as Egypt will be witnessing a significant political event scheduled only three days after the summit’s set date. This may be a reason to postpone the summit.
The Arab League, Saudi Arabia and Egypt may arrange for another appropriate date to hold the summit in Riyadh so that Egypt can effectively take part. However, there may be another reason for the postponement, as Qatar, one of the Arab League’s members, is still boycotted politically by the Arab Quartet; Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, according to Arab columnist Youssef Ayoub.
On June 5, the four Arab countries cut their diplomatic ties with the Gulf state of Qatar over its crystal-clear support to terrorist groups, extremists and Persian state of Iran. For its part, Doha denied the charges. “Doha insists on backing terrorism and interfering into the Arab Quartet’s domestic affairs and this deems a key obstacle impeding resolving the current dilemma between the Arab Quartet and Qatar,” Youssef manifested.
Although Kuwait has played the role of mediator in the Arab Quartet-Qatar fallout, Tarek Fahmi, professor of political science in Cairo University, said that Kuwait and the countries of the world stopped mediating.
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani speaks to members of Qatar's Shoura Council in Doha, Qatar, November 14, 2017-REUTERS
The Qatari Foreign Minister denied the Kuwaiti mediation role and recognized, in press statements, only the American mediation role in this intra-Arab crisis. Moreover, the participation of Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Riyadh’s summit deems a real impasse, as the Saudi rulers would not accept the presence of the Qatari emir in the Saudi Monarchy territory before a Qatari official acceptance and approval of the Arab Quartet’s fourteen principles.
The principles include: to commit to combating extremism and terrorism, to halt financing and providing safe havens for terrorist groups, and to suspend all acts of provocation and speeches inciting hatred or violence.
FILE - Flags of the Anti-Terrorism Quartet (ATQ) of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain
As a member state of the Arab League, Saudi Arabia has to send official invitations to all Arab countries in order to attend the Arab Summit in Riyadh. However, sending an invitation to Qatar is against the kingdom’s political will. Ayoub revealed that Qatar will never hesitate to attend the summit. “Saudi Arabia is in a deep mess as it can never prevent Qatari participation in the Arab Summit.”
Political observers believed that freezing the Qatari membership in the Arab League may be a solution to prevent a Saudi political and diplomatic violation that may be committed if the Saudi side seeks to prevent the Qatari participation in the upcoming summit in Riyadh.
Jordan hosted the 28th Arab league Summit, with the participation of 15 state leaders from the 22 member states, who discussed the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Palestine.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki and U.S. Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt also took part in the summit in the Dead Sea.
Jordan's King Abdullah II stands next to Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during a reception ceremony at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed - RTX332NR