After hours of intensive talks and mediation, Arab foreign ministers agreed on the appointment of former Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit as the Secretary General of the Arab League and Nabil El-Araby’s successor during their meeting in Cairo yesterday.
The Arab foreign ministers and the delegations accompanying them spent many hours trying to convince Qatar which expressed reservations about the Egyptian candidate and had prepared a huge dossier entitled “Five years of humiliation and insults” that Aboul Gheit had directed at Qatar.
Finally, the pressure, mediation and side meetings between the foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar paid off and the ministers agreed to appoint Aboul Gheit as the eighth Secretary General of the Arab League.
The Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told Asharq Al-Awsat that his country’s relations with Egypt are good and that “We did not object to the Egyptian candidate, we objected to his character”; this indicates that Doha wanted to make a point. He added “We want there to be consensus regarding the secretary general because he will serve all Arab states”. He continued: “We did not want it to be said that the state of Qatar has made the position of secretary general one that is voted on, and therefore we preferred to register our reservation and not disrupt the Arab consensus”.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told Asharq Al-Awsat that the sessions were positive and clear and their objective was to reach a consensus regarding the selection of a new Secretary General and “This is what happened”. He added that the Arab League is able to play a larger role and respond to the aspirations and desires of Arab peoples as well as confront all the challenges that the Arab world is facing.