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First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah chairing the Arab League Foreign Ministers meet
Policy rifts fester ahead of summit Arab FMs preparatory meeting wraps

 KUWAIT CITY, March 23, (Agencies): Rifts over foreign policy will likely make it harder for Arab leaders meeting at a summit this week to forge a common stand on regional challenges, including what many of them see as a threat from Iranian-US rapprochement. And while the Arab League meeting may agree more humanitarian action in response to Syria’s war, any communique calling for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad will not reflect divergent views behind the scenes about the Syrian leader’s handling of the conflict. Syria and Iran are not the only points of contention at the annual summit, scheduled to take place in Kuwait on March 25-26.

The meeting follows an unprecedented row among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) alliance of Gulf Arab states over support for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and a verbal spat between Iraq and Saudi Arabia over violence in Iraq’s Anbar province. “No summit has been without differences, but this one is full of differences. It is distinguished by the intensity of these disputes which puts an extra burden on the host country,” said Ebtisam al-Qitbi, a professor of political science at the Emirates University in the United Arab Emirates. “It will definitely make it more difficult to focus on coming out with adequate resolutions, not to mention an agreement on anything,” she added.

Ahead of the summit, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said there had been no tensions at a meeting of his Arab counterparts in preparation for discussions later this week. “The Kuwaiti host in fact has smoothed relations. There were no tensions between the delegates who were present,” he told reporters in Kuwait. A decision by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and revenge and impose their viewpoints on others, even if it requires the use of force. Rifts between these countries are endless and sometimes lead to military assaults instead of limiting them to diplomatic rows. This is the true position of things as they have not exerted efforts to clear the dark cloud of envy enveloping the atmosphere in order to enjoy the sun of agreement on a particular position. They exhibit the same attitude in dealing with common issues which should not have reached the point of disagreement like the cases of Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen, Somalia and several other countries. We will read in the communiquÈ of this edition similar contents as those issued in previous summits. In all communiquÈs and decisions, we usually read similar language that reflects chronic incapability. All decisions taken in previous summits remain ink on paper or just diagnosis of the illness without prescribing medications. Even if they prescribe medications, no one is ready to execute it.

Therefore, we see them accommodating the ‘devil’ in their utterances to make the prescription another source of rift. Since the third summit in Egypt in 1964, the communiquÈs have been the same. In that summit, they agreed on the need to end rifts and cleanse the Arab atmosphere to actualize common Arab goals fairly, as well as to urge the international community to support the Arab cause against Israeli aggression.

This is the summary of all the communiquÈs we have been reading, even when hosting the summit rotates annually among the members-States. The summits held every 10, four or three years were probably far better than the current situation, because the interval between one summit and the other sometimes contributed to easing tension. In recent years, the annual summits have complicated the issues while the atmosphere has always been tensed as the urge for revenge remained. To avoid being unfair, we have to admit the recent summits succeeded only in terms of protocol, because the participating countries always agreed on a single line of the communiquÈ — thanking the host-nation for its hospitality.

Those in charge of drafting the communiquÈs have stooped so low, up to the extent of using contents of previous communiquÈs without any addition or deletion; thereby, making it a replica of the original. Everybody should accept this truth, so whoever sees the Kuwait Summit as historic opportunity should take advantage of it to steer the Arab ship towards the Promised Land before the massive transformations witnessed across the world consume it. Will they change? Tomorrow is just around the corner!

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