Arab league foreign ministers address region's most pressing issues

The 160th meeting discussed the civil war in Sudan, as well as mitigating Iranian and Turkish influence

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, centre, Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit, left, and Assistant Secretary General responsible of the league's council, Ambassador Hossam Zaki, at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo. EPA
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Turkish and Iranian meddling in Arab affairs were at the top of the agenda during a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on Wednesday.

The Egyptian capital hosted the 160th Arab League Council meeting of Foreign Ministers, with Morocco acting as the session’s chair, taking over from Egypt, which headed the previous session.

The proceedings saw a number of committees convening to discuss various issues including the readmission of Syria to the Arab League, the Arab-Israeli conflict, in addition to Iran and Turkey’s perceived interference in Arab affairs.

The session sought to address nine main areas through four ministerial committees. They included discussions centred around aiding Palestinians in light of the increased aggression by Israel, and ways to mitigate Iranian and Turkish influence in the region.

The committee on Iran, was led by Saudi Arabia and attended by the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. A proposed plan on how to mitigate Iranian influence in Arab affairs will be drafted and presented to the general session, a communique said without offering further details.

A separate committee condemned what it called Turkish encroachment on Iraqi sovereign lands, according to a statement it issued following the meeting.

The continuing civil war in Sudan was also one of the main talking points on Wednesday, with the league’s secretary-general Ahmed Abou El Gheit stressing the need for a permanent ceasefire in light of the millions of Sudanese who have had to flee their homes.

Egypt’s dispute with Ethiopia over the construction of a mega dam on the Nile river was one of the highlights of Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry’s opening speech.

Egyptian-Ethiopian negotiations in August on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the first official talks between all concerned parties since 2021, ended with no change in Addis Ababa’s position.

Mr Shoukri stressed that Ethiopia’s unilateral position on the dam must change as he called on Arab countries to pressure it to come to the table and agree on a binding agreement, something that Addis Ababa has continuously refused to do.

He expressed Egypt's support to unifying the Libyan security and military institutions under a single executive authority capable of ruling the country effectively, urging to hold Libyan presidential and parliamentary elections soon.

Wednesday’s meeting was also attended by Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba, his Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau and Philipe Lazzirini, the Commissioner General of UNRWA.

Updated: September 06, 2023, 4:52 PM