33rd Arab League Summit Held in Bahrain


  • On Thursday, May 16, the 33rd Arab League Summit concluded in Bahrain after a 23-item agenda, which covered action in the political, economic, social, cultural, media and security sectors, as well as regional and international cooperation.
  • The event was attended by leaders across the Arab world, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, among others. 
    • This marks the second time that Syria has participated in an Arab League summit since rejoining the group last May after a 12-year suspension. 
    • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was also present. 
  • While the summit largely focused on the Gaza war, it also discussed alleviating the conflicts in Sudan, Yemen, Libya, and Syria. 

Focus: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

  • The bloc issued the “Manama Declaration,” which calls for “international protection and peacekeeping forces of the United Nations in the occupied Palestinian territories” until the implementation of a two-state solution. 
    • The declaration called for an “immediate” ceasefire and end to forced displacement in Gaza, and encouraged all Palestinian factions to join under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
  • The bloc also advocated for the recognition of a Palestinian state and an international peace conference to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Ensuring Efficacy

  • Critics of the Arab League have argued that the body is ineffective due to internal conflicts of interest and a lack of enforcement mechanisms that can compel members to comply with resolutions.
    • Alternatively, Bahraini Ambassador to the United States Shaikh Abdallah bin Rashid Al-Khalifa argues that the “League’s sanction confers legitimacy, and for this reason, a lasting resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not possible without its endorsement.”
  • To ensure a positive outcome conducive to peace-making efforts, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa traveled to multiple Arab capitals prior to the summit.
    • Preliminary meetings, including with the follow-up committee for the implementation of resolutions and commitments and the Foreign Ministers’ meeting, occurred in advance of the summit as well. 
  • Bahrain’s Speaker of the Council of Representatives Ahmed bin Salman Al Musallam “affirmed the commitment of Arab parliaments and legislative councils in following up on the Bahrain Summit, the results it will yield, and the decisions and recommendations that the final statement will include.”
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