Saudi Crown Prince: We won't allow the Arab region to turn into a conflict zone

Arab summit kicks off in Jeddah with Al-Assad and Zelensky attending

May 19, 2023
Leaders attending the Arab summit in Jeddah pose for a group photo
Leaders attending the Arab summit in Jeddah pose for a group photo

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman has reaffirmed the Arab resolve not to allow the region to descend into a zone of conflict.

“We assure friendly countries in the East and the West that we are moving forward in peace. We will not allow our region to turn into a zone of conflict,” the Crown Prince said while opening the 32nd Arab League summit. Saudi Arabia assumed the presidency of the 22-member bloc in Jeddah Friday afternoon.

In his presidential speech, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated that the Arab region is fed up with conflicts. “It is enough for us, with turning the page of the past, to remember the painful years of conflicts that the region lived through. It is enough for us to have conflicts that the peoples of the region suffered from and because of which development was faltered in the region,” he said.

Prince Mohammed highlighted the untapped potential of the Arab world, saying that the Arab states enjoy enough cultural capabilities and human and natural resources to assume a leading position and achieve prosperity in all fields.

The Crown Prince welcomed Syrian President Al-Assad back into the Arab fold, saying: “We hope that Syria’s return to the Arab League will be an end to its crisis.”

Al-Assad is attending the summit for the first time in 12 years. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is the guest of honor at the summit.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman emphasized that the Palestinian cause was and still is the pivotal issue of the Arabs.

He also expressed hope that the language of dialogue would be the basis for the resolution of the crisis in Sudan. “Saudi Arabia is welcoming the signing of the Jeddah Declaration by the two parties involved in the conflict in Sudan,” he said while expressing hope that the Jeddah talks would bring about an effective ceasefire in Sudan.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman stressed the importance of resolving the crisis in Ukraine peacefully.

“We reaffirm the Kingdom’s position supportive to everything that contributes to reducing the intensity of the crisis in Ukraine, and not to allow further worsening of the humanitarian situation there. Saudi Arabia is ready to continue mediation efforts between the Russian Federation and Ukraine,” he said.

Earlier, the Crown Prince received the heads of state and leaders of countries and delegations participating in the Arab summit. The leaders also posed for a group photo on the sidelines of the summit.

The Arab leaders who are attending the summit included Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, King Abdullah of Jordan, Tunisian President Kais Saied, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, Chairman of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Rashad Muhammad Al-Alimi, UAE Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Oman’s Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs Sayyid Asaad bin Tarik Al-Said.

The summit’s opening session began with a speech by Ayman ben Abdul Rahman, prime minister of Algeria — the outgoing chair of the Arab League. Welcoming Syria’s return to the Arab League, Abdul Rahman stressed the group's keenness to close the Arab ranks. He appreciated Saudi Arabia’s efforts to bring Syria back to the Arab fold.

The Algerian premier urged the international community to assume its responsibilities toward the Palestinian people and put an end to the Israeli settlement policy. He also called on the brothers in Sudan to give priority to the interest of the nation, as well as to resort to dialogue, and to avoid slipping into the cycle of violence.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who arrived in Jeddah on Thursday evening to attend the summit emphasized that the convening of the Arab summit in Saudi Arabia would enhance joint Arab action to achieve the aspirations of the Arab peoples. On his part, the spokesman of the Egyptian presidency said the Sudanese crisis is at the top of Egypt's priorities at the summit.

The one-day summit focuses mainly on Syria’s return to the Arab League and the volatile situation in Sudan and the Palestinian cause. The pan-Arab summit brings together 22 member countries represented by the respective heads of state and government along with five observer nations.

Saudi Arabia is hosting the summit after taking over the rotating presidency from Algeria.

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