Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Sunday’s meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo endorsed the calls from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, to rid the Middle East of terrorist organizations, most prominently the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The Foreign Ministers’ Council praised the decision by King Abdullah to offer 100 million US dollars to support the UN Counter-Terrorism Center in New York, as well as the Saudi monarch’s speech in August, when he warned of the dangers of extremism and terrorism and condemned attempts to exploit religion for political purposes.
The Arab league meeting also welcomed Egypt’s proposal to hold a joint meeting of the Justice and Interior Ministries’ Council to implement Arab security and judicial cooperation agreements.
The council ratified the recommendations made by a team of Arab counter-terrorism experts during their 16th meeting in Tunisia last August. The council called on signatories to Arab counter-terrorism agreements to speed up the implementation of the agreement’s articles.
The Foreign Ministers’ Council also called for Arab League members to exchange of information related to terrorism, and to establish an Arab judicial cooperation network in the field of counter-terrorism, as well as urging member states to establish national and regional strategies to prevent terrorism.
Meanwhile, the secretary general of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, warned of the dangers and challenges facing the Arab region.
In his speech opening the meeting, Elaraby called for Arab cooperation to combat armed radical groups militarily, politically and ideologically, and called for the implementation of the Arab Joint Defense Agreement.
Elaraby said the Arab League needed to improve as an organization to face up to the challenges and threats, especially in relation to Iraq and Syria, and the deteriorating situation in Libya, and said the criticism of the organization stemmed from “the absence of the political will of member states.”
In regards to the recent war in Gaza, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokri said hopes for a final settlement of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict were fading, but that the Arab League would back attempts by the Palestinians to establish an independent, sovereign Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital as soon as possible.
Shokri added that Egypt, with the cooperation of Norway, would soon host an international conference for the reconstruction of Gaza.