TUNIS – The Emir of Qatar Tamim ben Hamad Al Thani decided on Sunday to leave the 30th edition of the Arab League Summit held in the Tunisian capital of Tunis without delivering a speech, as scheduled, sources from inside the organization confirmed.
However, the sources did not reveal the reasons that led him to suddenly abandon the summit, co-organized by Saudi Arabia.
The summit got underway at midday at the Tunis Congress Palace with the participation of only half of the 22 heads of state and with the main issues affecting the region such as the wars in Syria and Yemen ruled out of the meeting agenda.
Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi was the first to deliver a speech, as the host, followed by King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who presided over the previous summit.
Once the public speeches were delivered, the Arab leaders held a meeting behind closed doors to discuss a final communique in which they are expected to criticize the recent decision by the US to back the annexation of Golan by Israel.
The final statement is also expected to denounce the regional politics adopted by Iran and Turkey, defend the Palestinian cause and call for an end to the division of Libya.
At the second level comes the war in Syria, which has been suspended from the Arab League since 2011, while the alleged human rights violations in both Yemen and Egypt have been dropped out of the summit agenda.
Heads of state of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Mauritania and Djibouti attended the summit.
Among those who did not take part in the summit are Sudan’s President Omar Hasan al Bashir, who is wanted after the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants against him, King Mohammed VI of Morocco and Algeria’s ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
In parallel, the Tunisian civil society and journalist union in the Arab country held a series of activities, including a rally in central Tunis to call for more freedom and denounce what they called regular violation of the human rights in the region.