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Kuwait summit aims to boost Arab economic development
March 25, 2014, 9:05 am
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H.H. the Amir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah will chair the Arab Summit which begins in Kuwait City on Tuesday.

The announcement was made in the briefing following the regular cabinet session and carried by the Kuwait News Agency (Kuna).

Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, who became Qatar’s ruler in June, will hand over the rotating presidency of the Arab summit sessions to Kuwait when the meetings open today.

Arab foreign ministers on Sunday approved a draft resolution that paves the way for Egypt to host the Arab summit next year, and referred it to the Arab leaders for final endorsement.

The Arab countries approved a proposal by Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabeel Fahmy that his country hosts the 26th summit in March 2015, Kuwait permanent representative to the Arab League Aziz Al Daihani told Kuna.

The last Arab summit was held in Cairo in 2000, in which Saudi-proposed Al Quds and Al Aqsa Funds were launched.

Al Daihani was speaking following the conclusion of the one-day preparatory meeting of the Arab foreign ministers, chaired by the First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shaikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah.

Shaikh Sabah Al Khalid hoped the Arab summit, held in Kuwait for the first time since the country joined the Arab League in 1961, will succeed in boosting inter-Arab economic development.

Change of tune

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia said that they would be represented by their crown princes, while the UAE said that His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Sharqi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Fujairah, will head its delegation. Oman said that Sayyid Assad Bin Tarek Al Saeed, Representative of Sultan Qaboos, would lead the official delegation.

Oman’s Sultan Qaboos rarely attends Arab summits.

Both Oman and Kuwait have refrained from taking sides in the Gulf rift.

As the country readies for the summit, Kuwaiti politicians and parliamentarians have reined in their enthusiasm for reconciliations between Arab leaders they thought their country would be able to bring about.

The open optimism about Kuwait being able to bridge the gulf between Qatar and Egypt and, more importantly, to overcome the political crisis between Qatar and fellow GCC members Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, has now turned into silence in the face of what appears to be a Herculean task.

The GCC rift, sparked after Manama, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi withdrew their ambassadors in Doha to protest against Qatar non-compliance with pan-Gulf agreements, has proved too formidable to be addressed at the summit.

The absence of the leaders of the three countries has been perceived as a strong signal to nations who thought mediation could get them to soften their stances.

Morocco’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Salah Al Deen Mezwar, said the foreign ministers discussed efforts to combat international terrorism and ways to limit its impact on Arab countries.

A draft resolution on the Syrian conflict, which entered its fourth year last week, urges the UN Security Council to shoulder its responsibility after the failure of Geneva peace talks between the regime and the opposition.

The leader of Syria’s opposition National Coalition, Ahmad Jarba, has been invited to address the Arab summit.

But Syria’s seat in the Arab League remains vacant although the last annual summit, held in Doha, granted the seat to the opposition.

The Arab League said the opposition still needs to meet some legal procedures to take up the seat.

On the Palestinian issue, the ministers called on Arab states to provide $100 million in financial aid to the Palestinian Authority every month and rejected recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. The ministers approved the basic charter of a Bahrain-based Arab human rights tribunal.

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