Arab League delays its annual summit because of the spike in Covid-19 cases
The League of Arab States has announced it is delaying its annual summit because of the surge in Covid-19 cases. The summit was scheduled for March 22 in Algiers. The last Arab League summit was held in Tunis in March 2019. The League of Arab States cancelled the 2020 and 2021 summits because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Pan-Arab organisation’s assistant secretary-general, Hossam Zaki, said, “Every year, the summit is held in March, but this year, there has been a delay.” His statement came after he visited Algiers. Zaki added that Algeria “preferred the option” of delaying the annual summit because of the pandemic. He also added that negotiations about the starting date are ongoing. However, the ongoing Coronavirus surge has interfered with those efforts.
Reportedly, Arab foreign ministers are expected to announce a new date for the summit during their scheduled meeting on March 9. Zaki claimed that there were no political tensions behind the delay of the summit. However, he said to utilise the spare time to “improve political climates” in the region. Zaki also said the summit would not be held before the month of Ramadan, which will begin in April. Reportedly, this year’s summit is important for Algiers, which has been seeking to expand its political sphere of influence because of the tensions with Morocco.
No agenda has been announced yet for this year’s summit. However, the ministers might discuss multiple conflicts and crises. The countries might discuss the war in Yemen, which killed nearly 400,000 people since 2015. The discussion can also be made about the 2021 coup in Sudan, which resulted in its suspension from the African Union. The ministers might also discuss protracted crises in Lebanon and Libya. Lebanon’s economic crisis also increased child abuse in the country. Violence against women and girls also increased in recent years.