Arab leaders on Wednesday concluded the 31st summit of the largest annual Arab conference, seeking to bridge the gap on several divisive issues in the Middle East and Africa. Among the topics discussed was the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and four Arab countries, as well as the food and energy crises aggravated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Reports from Turkey said that Russia has agreed to return to a Turkish and U.N.-brokered deal that allows the shipment of millions of tons Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea. This may provide some relief for Arab leaders grappling with soaring food prices and shortages of basic staples. The Arab League summit provided an opportunity for Algeria, Africa’s largest country by territory, to showcase its leadership in the Arab world.
Algeria is a major oil and gas producer and is perceived as a key supplier in the global energy crisis. Algeria President Abdelmadjid Tebboune urged league members to reaffirm their support for the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel. He blasted Israel for its “continued occupation” of Palestinian territories and “expanding its illegal settlements.” Last month, Algeria hosted talks in a bid to end the Palestinian political divide and reconcile the Fatah party and the militant Hamas group.
The summit took place at a time of heightened tensions in the occupied West Bank, where the Israeli military has conducted nightly arrest raids in searches for Palestinian militants.