ALGIERS: The Arab Summit kicked off on Tuesday with the attendance of 13 leaders, eight delegation heads and the Arab League chief. Representative of HH the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, is heading Kuwait's delegation to the summit. This year's summit is themed "Arab reunification", with the Algeria Declaration expected to focus on the Palestinian crisis, food security and Arab League reforms.
Tunisian President Kais Saied, the former Arab Summit president, launched the talks by saying in a speech that the Arab world is living under "unstable conditions". "This region has been impacted by matters like COVID, war, food security, organized crime and terror. These crises have disturbed the world order, which needs a "new and unconventional definition," he said. During its presidency, he said his nation worked to encourage joint efforts amongst the region's countries and that it would continue to do so.
The Arab League summit has for decades been a forum for strident declarations of support for the Palestinian cause. Algeria remains a steadfast supporter of the Palestinians, even mediating a reconciliation deal in October between rival factions Fatah and Hamas. The deal was seen as a public relations coup for Algeria, which has been seeking more regional clout on the back of its growing status as a gas exporter following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
This week's summit is another opportunity for President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to push that agenda forward. He has rolled out the red carpet for his guests, including his Egyptian, Palestinian and Tunisian counterparts Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Mahmoud Abbas and Kais Saied respectively, as well as Qatar's Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
The main roads of Algiers have been decked out with national flags and huge billboards welcoming "brother Arabs", ahead of a dinner hosted by Tebboune. "Algerian foreign policy has gone on the offensive at the regional, African and Arab levels," said Geneva-based expert Hasni Abidi. Participants in the summit face the challenge of formulating a final resolution, which has to be passed unanimously.
President Vladimir Putin sent a message saying Russia was committed to cooperation with the Arab League to boost "security". Putin called for conflicts to "be resolved on the basis of generally accepted international law and a commitment to strict respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries".