Arab summit kicks off in Algeria with focus on food security, Palestinian issue

ALGIERS— The 31st session of the Arab League (AL) summit kicked off on Tuesday evening in the Algerian capital of Algiers with regional food security and Palestinian issue being on top of agenda.

Tunisian President Kais Saied, whose country hosted the last AL summit in 2019, handed over the presidency of the summit to his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune at a symbolic ceremony.

In his opening address, Saied said the summit’s slogan “reunion” sums up the hope to overcome all the differences that led to the discord in the Arab region.

“We hope that the Algiers summit will be the summit of brothers and solutions,” he said, hailing the efforts of Algeria to help Palestinian factions to achieve reconciliation.

For his part, Tebboune noted that “the summit is being held under complex and sensitive regional and international circumstances, characterized in particular by the escalation of tensions and crises, especially in the Arab world.”

He urged Arab countries to boost their economic cooperation with the aim to secure the region’s food security.

“The Palestinian issue remains at the core of our preoccupations and on the top of our priorities,” the Algerian leader stressed, calling for “renewing Arab collective commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative to guarantee the Palestinian people for the establishment of their independent state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as capital.”

In his address to the summit, AL Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit called for boosting the pan-Arab organization’s work to settle all the armed conflicts in the region.

“I call upon the Arab leaders to stop the bloodshed which threatens the present and the future of the Arab nation,” Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said, referring to armed conflicts raging in several Arab countries, including Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Syria.

In addition to the leaders from AL member countries, some guests of honor, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the president of the Non-Aligned Movement, and President of Senegal Macky Sall, the current chairperson of the African Union, attended the AL summit.