Consolidating joint Arab action remains a goal of our foreign policy, says Sheikh Mohammed

The Ruler of Dubai is leading the UAE delegation at Arab summit in Algeria

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Consolidation of Arab action remains an important goal of UAE's foreign policy, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, after he participated in meetings on the first day of the Arab summit.

Sheikh Mohammed arrived in Algiers on Tuesday and was received by Algerian Prime Minister Ayman Benabderrahmane at Houari Boumediene International Airport.

“Today, I participated in the Arab summit meetings in Algeria,” said Sheikh Mohammed on Twitter.

“Our stance over the past 50 years has been consistent in support of Arab issues and will remain so. Consolidating our joint Arab action will remain a major goal in our foreign policy.”

Sheikh Mohammed’s emphasis on joint Arab action was echoed by the summit’s host, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who in his first address called for the creation of an Arab economic bloc.

“We must regain our self-confidence so we can be an effective force on the global scene and in the international economy,” he said.

“All of us must create a formidable Arab economic bloc that safeguards our joint interests, identify the priorities and focus on the field of joint endeavours.”

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit also touched on the necessity of consolidating Arab action when he addressed the summit on Tuesday night.

“Our Arab states are in a desperate need for a comprehensive strategy to deal with this ‘enduring crisis situation’,” he said.

“The matter needs a great deal of thinking to fortify Arab societies and reinforce their steadfastness in the face of the shocks and calamities.”

Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister; Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs; Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the President; Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy; Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Co-operation; Khalifa Al Marar, Minister of State; Khalifa Sulaiman, Chairman of Protocols for the Vice President and Prime Minister; Yousef Al Ali, UAE's ambassador to Algeria, and Mariam Al Kaabi, Permanent Representative of the UAE in the Arab League.

This is the first Arab summit in three years and leaders attending the event will sit down to discuss the multitude of challenges and crises facing the region. The Arab League has 21 members.

The coronavirus pandemic prevented the annual summit from being held in 2020 and 2021.

Mr Tebboune is presiding over the event. The Algerian president said the summit is taking place amid escalating “tensions and crises” as he called for Arab unity during opening speech.

He said that “exceptional global conditions are creating polarisation … which is impacting our food security.”

“Regional and international context are marked by rising tensions and crises, particularly in the Arab world, which in its modern history hasn't seen a period as difficult as the one it is currently undergoing,” he said.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said the outcome of the summit will have a strong response towards Iran and Turkey's interference in Baghdad's internal affairs.

“The Iranian and Turkish interferences in Iraq are not accepted and will have regional response if it continues,” Mr Fuad said.

“We are seeking to resolve the contentious points with Iran and Turkey through dialogue,” he said.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune leaves following the opening ceremony of the Arab summit in Algiers on November 1. AFP

Mr Hussein said Iraq will not be an “arena for regional and international conflicts” and the new government in Baghdad “wants to continue to improve relations with the region”.

Iraq has repeatedly said it does not want its territory to become a battleground for a proxy war between the US and Iran.

The countries are at odds over Iran’s nuclear programme and support for armed groups in the region.

Algeria chose the date of the summit to coincide with the 68th anniversary of the start of its War of Liberation from French rule, giving the two-day meeting added significance and bolstering its image as a champion of Arab causes.

The summit also comes at a time when Algeria’s large oil and gas exports to western Europe have boosted the country’s international standing, given the energy crisis created by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also arrived in Algiers on Tuesday to attend the summit as an observer.

Updated: November 02, 2022, 7:05 AM
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