Iraq to host next Arab summit instead of Syria

Iraqi president announces from Manama that Iraq will host the next Arab summit - May 16, 2024 (Screenshot)

Iraqi president announces from Manama that Iraq will host the next Arab summit - May 16, 2024 (Screenshot)

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Iraqi President, Abdul Latif Jamal Rashid, announced that his country would host the next Arab summit, the 34th session, which was originally scheduled to be held in Syria.

In his speech during the Arab summit in Manama, Rashid stated, “I want to express our gratitude and appreciation to the Syrian Arab Republic, our brotherly nation, for agreeing to transfer the 34th regular session of 2025 to Iraq, and we are eagerly looking forward to welcoming our brothers in Baghdad.”

During his address, Rashid affirmed his country’s support for any positive development that could help halt the internal conflict in Syria, while reiterating Iraq’s stance in favor of maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity and working to rid it of threats to its security and stability, alongside reconstruction and ensuring a free and dignified life for the Syrian people.

The summit in Manama placed a greater focus on the Palestinian issue and the conflict in Gaza, calling for a ceasefire and supporting the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. As a result, the Syrian file was largely overlooked in the speeches of the leaders and representatives of the participating Arab nations.

Syria last hosted the Arab summit on March 29 and 30, 2008, at a time of unstable Arab-Arab relations, with several countries, including Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and low diplomatic representation at the summit from some countries, such as Jordan.

After an emergency meeting in Cairo, Egypt, in November 2011, Arab foreign ministers suspended the membership of the Syrian regime in the Arab League, following months of popular protests in Syria demanding the ouster of Bashar al-Assad.

Following this decision, which was approved by 18 Arab nations, with Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen opposing it, economic and political sanctions were imposed on the Syrian regime, and Syria’s seat in the Arab League remained vacant from the suspension of its membership until March 2013, when the seat was given to the opposition during the Arab summit hosted by Doha.

The former president of the Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, delivered a speech on Syria’s behalf during that time.

The Manama Summit is considered the second regular Arab summit with Bashar al-Assad’s participation since 2010 (he attended the Sirte Summit in Libya then) after his participation in the summit held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on May 19, 2023. It is also al-Assad’s third summit since 2010, following the Arab-Islamic Summit on November 11, 2023, which focused on developments in the Gaza Strip, merging the two summits, Arab and Islamic, in coordination with the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

It was al-Assad’s first appearance in the same hall as the heads and leaders of countries that had been politically hostile to his regime since the revolution began in Syria in 2011.

 

 

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