23rd Arab Summit convenes in Baghdad

March 29, 2012

The 23rd Arab Summit was held in Baghdad today, with the participation of many world leaders and officials, including Iraqi President Jalal Talabani; Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki; Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari; Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas; Somali President Al-Shareef Sheikh Ahmed; Tunisian President Al-Munsif Al-Marzouqi; Sudanese President Omer Al-Basheer; Lebanese President Michel Suleiman; Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; Jordanian Prime Minister Awn Al-Khasawneh; Chairman of the Libyan National Transitional Council Mustafa Abdul Jalil; Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Arabi; and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

The Kingdom’s delegation was led by Saudi Ambassador to Egypt and Permanent Representative to the Arab League Ahmed Kattan. Addressing the summit, Ambassador Qattan stressed that the most important challenge currently facing the Arab world is the economic challenge. He noted that the current global economic crisis has significantly impacted the Arab world. “This summit is held amid critical circumstances, which require us to make decisions that live up to the hopes and aspirations of the Arab peoples,” he declared.

During his own speech, Secretary General Al-Arabi called upon the Syrian government to “immediately and fully” implement a United Nations-backed peace plan accepted by Damascus earlier this week. “This plan represents a positive development that can be built on,” he stated.

Following their deliberations, the Arab leaders released the Baghdad Declaration, which was approved by the Arab Foreign Ministers during their preparatory meeting yesterday. The document addresses a number of important issues, focusing particularly on the Syrian crisis, the fight against terrorism, the Palestinian cause, and the restructuring of the Arab League.