Bahrain and Iraq to host Arab League summits in 2024 and 2025

Jeddah gathering featured return of Syria and visit from Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani said he 'looks forward to embracing our Arab brothers in Mesopotamia' in 2025 Reuters
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Bahrain and Iraq are to host the next two rounds of the Arab League summit, top officials said on Friday.

Saudi Arabia has hosted a historic summit in the Red Sea city of Jeddah over the past few days, attended by regional leaders.

Returning to the Arab League after 12 years of isolation was Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

Damascus was suspended in 2011 over the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators that led to civil war.

“We are pleased to express that we will welcome you all to the kingdom of Bahrain, for the upcoming Arab summit meetings in 2024,” Bahrain’s King Hamad said in his address to the league.

He was followed by Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani, who said Baghdad would host the 2025 summit.

“I extend an invitation to convene the 2025 Arab Summit in Baghdad, which looks forward to embracing our Arab brothers in Mesopotamia,” Mr Al Sudani said.

A surprise visit by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the summit caught international attention.

It was his first to the Middle East since Russia's invasion of his country in February 2022, giving the Ukrainian leader an opportunity to appeal for support from Arab leaders.

Dressed in his trademark fatigues, Mr Zelenskyy was greeted at the airport by Ukraine's ambassador and Saudi officials.

Mr Zelenskyy said his priorities for the visit would be “the presentation of our peace formula whose implementation should involve as many states as possible”.

Another priority, he wrote on social media, was “the protection of Ukraine's Muslim community” in the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Updated: May 19, 2023, 6:01 PM