Key issues across the Arab world that are fast transforming the political landscape of the region topped the agenda of the talks between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and the Arab League’s new Secretary-General Nabil Al-Arabi in Jeddah on Monday.
The talks also focused on Arab efforts to seek recognition for a Palestinian state and to forge a strong Arab unity and solidarity.
“King Abdullah discussed with Al-Arabi the situations in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Sudan,” said an Arab diplomat in Riyadh on Monday. He said Al-Arabi, who arrived in Jeddah on Monday on his first visit to the Kingdom since he took office, had “extensive consultations” with the king on a range of issues affecting the Arab world, especially Arab solidarity.
The meeting was attended by several members of the royal family and high-ranking officials. Prominent among them were Prince Saud Al-Faisal, foreign minister; Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, chief of General Intelligence; Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah and Prince Bandar bin Salman bin Mohammed, the king’s advisers. At the beginning of the meeting, King Abdullah congratulated Al-Arabi and wished him all success.
The two sides stressed the need to intensify Arab efforts to drum up international recognition for the declaration of a Palestinian state, he said. Al-Arabi’s visit is also significant keeping in view the creation of South Sudan, which will eventually seek membership of the Arab League.
It is important to note that Syrians in Cairo had recently protested in front of the Arab League’s headquarters, calling on Al-Arabi to break with the stance adopted by his predecessor.
Al-Arabi has definitely indicated a departure from the old policies of Arab League when dealing with some regional and international issues, said an Egyptian official.
In a recent interview, Al-Arabi said that a probe into human rights abuses by the Libyan forces and an attempt to persuade Syria to accelerate reforms topped his agenda.
Acknowledging big changes in the region, Al-Arabi also expressed his belief that a Palestinian state would be recognized soon. He has called on Israelis to withdraw from Palestinian Authority territory.