The 159th regular session of the Council of Arab Foreign Ministers at the Arab League
Wednesday، 08 March 2023 - 12:00 AM
The 159th session of the Arab League (AL) Council at the level of permanent representatives was launched on Wednesday 8/03/2023 at its headquarters in Cairo under the presidency of Egypt.
The prospective agenda includes political, economic and social files. At the top comes pressing issues in Palestine, Yemen, Syria, as well as Arab relations with regional, international and African blocs.
Ministerial committees held meetings ahead of the opening session to probe a number of issues and files.
In terms of Palestine, the Arab Labour Organization-a specialized organization affiliated with the AL- had denounced on Sunday, during a meeting at AL headquarters, the Israeli violations against Arab laborers in the occupied Arab, Palestinian territories.
The session is being held amid recent clashes in the West Bank that began this year with Israeli forces' raid on Jenin refugee camp.
The Opening Session
Addressing the 159th regular session of the Council of Arab Foreign Ministers at the Arab League HQ on Wednesday 8/03/2023, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stressed the keenness of Egypt and all Arab countries to raise joint Arab action to the level of the challenges and requirements of the Arab peoples.
He pointed to the Arab keenness that the Arab League be an influential actor and a solid defender of Arab interests by formulating common visions in all files, such as the Ukrainian crisis, nuclear weapons, climate change, as well as Arab issues.
Shoukry said that the Palestinian issue will remain the first central issue for the Arab countries, and Egypt will spare no effort in supporting the steadfastness of the Palestinian people against oppressive practices and violations of human rights and international law.
He added: “We will continue to communicate with all regional and international parties to support the peace process and the rights of the brotherly Palestinian people.”
Shoukry warned of Ethiopia’s unilateral practices on the Renaissance Dam; He said it poses a great danger to Egypt because of its water scarcity and its almost total dependence on the Nile River.
He said that we count on the great Arab role in pressuring Ethiopia to review the steps it is taking unilaterally to achieve its economic interests without paying attention to the interests of the peoples of the downstream countries.
Shoukry added that the situation in Libya has witnessed development, represented in the amendment of the constitution, its promulgation by the House of Representatives, and the endorsement of the High Council of the State. This will contribute to the fulfillment of the constitutional and legal framework necessary for conducting elections and the parliamentary elections in order to complete the electoral laws, leading to their adoption by the House of Representatives in the next stage.
On this occasion, he stressed that Egypt upholds the supreme interests of the brotherly Libyan state, adding that Egypt insists on the departure of foreign troops within a specific period of time, the disbandment of militias, and support for the mission of the 5+5 Military Committee.
He called on all Arab brothers to stand behind the Libyan people and support the role of Libyan institutions in their legitimate endeavour to achieve these goals.
Regarding Syria, the Foreign Minister expressed his support for Syria and Turkey, after the devastating earthquake that struck the two countries last month, praising the support provided by Arab countries to both countries during the crisis, which reflects the bonds between peoples.
Shoukry added that the relationship between the countries of the region should be characterized by mutual respect, without keeping the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries.
As for Yemen, he said that Egypt is following all the developments in the brotherly country of Yemen, and as Egypt had welcomed the establishment of the UN truce in Yemen in April last year and opened its doors to facilitating flights between Cairo and Sanaa in support of this truce.
He added that Egypt is concerned about the continued non-renewal of this truce for the time being and calls for its resumption as a prelude to reaching a comprehensive settlement to the right-wing crisis as soon as possible, in a way that preserves the unity of Yemen, preserves its capabilities, ends the suffering of its people and puts it on the road to prosperity and stability.
Shoukry said that Egypt will work hand in hand with all Arab League member states and the Secretariat General to keep collective action at the level of threats and challenges by mobilizing Arab capabilities that would transform Arab positions into world leaders.
He considered that there is a need to formulate a collective Arab action to maintain security in the Arab countries, by preventing interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries, and preventing the aggravation of crises.
Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the Arab League is meeting amid crises and extreme tension. “The world is experiencing crises that it has not seen in decades, as the talk of nuclear war and major power conflicts has returned, and the world is suffering from it amidst the division of countries between camps and alliances,” he added.
He noted: “Apart from climate change, which threatens the world, and especially the developing countries that suffer the most, as well as economic crises, inflation and high commodity prices, this forces the countries of the region to develop strategies to deal with disasters and crises.”
In his speech at the meeting of the Arab League at the level of foreign ministers, the Secretary General also considered that the Palestinian issue remains the central issue, pointing to the violations committed by the occupation forces, under an extremist government, which reflects the need for joint action to confront this behaviour.