First Arab League summit in three years set for Algeria in November

Last conference was held in Tunis in March 2019

Arab League foreign ministers met in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Wednesday. EPA
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The Arab League will hold its first summit in three years in November after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the meetings to be suspended.

The two-day conference, which is usually held in March, had been planned for later this month. It will now be held in Algiers, Algeria, starting on November 1, the organisation's chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit said.

The last Arab League summit was held in Tunis in March 2019.

A meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo on Wednesday discussed Russia's invasion of Ukraine, citing “the need to reach a diplomatic solution” in a final statement.

But Mr Aboul Gheit issued a warning that the war “must not let us forget the Arab crises that are not over".

Conflict and crises persist in several Arab countries. Yemen has been mired in war since 2014. The UN estimates that the conflict killed 377,000 people by the end of 2021, both directly and indirectly through hunger and disease, while millions have been displaced.

Sudan is reeling after a military coup in October that derailed a fragile transition to civilian rule, after longtime strongman Omar Al Bashir was toppled in 2019.

Libya now finds itself with two rival prime ministers vying for power — a standoff that threatens a return to violence after a year and a half of relative stability.

Arab countries are also divided over the issue of Syria's return to the Arab League. The country was suspended in 2011 after its brutal repression of peaceful protests spiralled into a complex civil war.

This year's summit is important for Algeria, which has been seeking to expand its political sphere of influence, against the backdrop of heightened tension with Morocco.

Updated: March 10, 2022, 4:21 AM