On May 19th, 2023, the Arab League Summit took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This annual summit was created by the Arab League in hopes of discussing important issues pertaining to the Arab world. The 2023 Arab League summit in Jeddah marked the return of Syria into the Arab League and President Bashar al-Assad’s first address to the summit in 12 years.
During President Bashar al Assad’s address to the summit, he emphasized the need to remember the original purpose of the league which he says is for Arab nations to come together and discuss common interests and issues in the region without “interfering in each other’s domestic affairs.”
President Assad connected this to Syria’s relationship with other Arab States in the past decade and the role of foreign intervention. During his remarks, Assad states, “I hope that it marks the beginning of a new phase of Arab action for solidarity among us, for peace in our region, development and prosperity instead of war and destruction.”
During the summit, President Assad also held talks with the Emirati vice president who mentioned “warm greetings” from UAE President Mohammad bin Zayed who wasn’t present at the summit this year. To add on, the UAE will reportedly invite President Assad to COP28, the global United Nations climate conference that will take place later this year.
President Assad also spoke to the Tunisian leader during the summit stating that “Syria and Tunisia stand together against the obscurantist ideology, as they share an issue of intellect, consciousness, and belonging, which is targeted by the outside.”
Ukrainian President Zelensky was an unexpected guest at this year’s summit. He ironically gave a speech to the Arab Leaders on fighting against occupation and colonialism. His remarks focused on attempting to gather support for Ukraine. Many found Zelensky’s desperate attempts to gather support at the Arab League summit interesting, as this comes in light of Western media painting Russia as one with no allies.
President Assad’s attendance at the Arab League Summit was inadmittedly a blow to the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinken states, “we do not believe that Syria merits readmission to the Arab League.”
As the 32nd annual Arab summit in Riyadh marks the return of President Bashar al Assad to the league, many note the irony of the situation. President Bashar al Assad addressed the nations that actively funded terrorist groups in Syria and awaited his downfall.
Many note this to be a part of the broader picture of regional shift towards the axis of resistance and also regard this to be an immense victory for Syria. These normalizing efforts, despite Syria’s continued stance against the Western-Zionist agenda in the region, shows the resilience and steadfastness of Syria.
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