The 5th Arab-African summit was “suddenly” postponed indefinitely for the third time due to events in Gaza, after a long preparation, “twice postponed in 2019, 2020” Corona – raised several questions about the reasons behind the postponement question.
The Gaza War is one manifestation of the Arab-Israeli conflict and one of the reasons for Arab-African reconciliation after most countries sided with the Arabs and severed ties with Israel in the 1973 war. Then there was talk of the unity of Arab-African destiny in the face of colonialism, which was…at that time, in addition to the Israeli occupation of parts of Arabia, it was perching on the breasts of some of these countries. This led to the Arab-African Summit, held in Cairo in 1977 and attended by more than 60 countries, at which a final statement was issued. It is time to support the struggle of the people of Palestine, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Somalia and the Comoros through the provisions of the Cairo Declaration; for freedom and independence, these African countries did gain independence while Palestine remained the same.
So how come the fifth summit was postponed because of the Palestinian issue, which is the original purpose of these summits! Does the war in Gaza require delaying and ignoring the Arabs, the largest African voting bloc in the world (54 countries), instead of supporting relations between two entities that represent an important voting bloc (64 countries) and have huge economic and human potential To counter the West, which strongly supports Israel? Or perhaps because of Arab-Arab divisions over Gaza ahead of the summit, and similar divisions in Africa, concerns about not being able to agree on the wording of a final statement made postponement the preferred option, ignoring the benefits both sides could gain from holding Benefit from it?
Is the Polisario still a stumbling block to Arab-African reconciliation? Why didn’t it pose an obstacle at the third summit hosted by Kuwait in 2013! Is it possible to find a formula that helps overcome this problem?
Postponement and Arab-Arab dispute
It can be said that the Gaza War on October 7 exposed the deep differences between Arab countries that oppose the normalization of relations and those that support the normalization of relations in dealing with this issue. What caused not only the postponement of the Arab-African Summit originally scheduled for November, but also the failure of the Special Arab Summit to be held in Riyadh, and the “host country” was forced to suddenly cancel on the eve of the original date and merge it with the Islamic Summit to hold a surprising Arab summit? -Islamic Joint Summit. Its final statement surprisingly lacked concrete practical content to support Gaza’s residents by providing immediate aid to them and to deter Israel until it was forced to cease fire.
There are multiple reasons behind the cancellation of the Arab summit and the postponement of the Arab-African summit, the most prominent of which may be reports of the incompetence of Arab foreign ministers at summit preparatory meetings. The agreement on the final statement follows proposals from some countries that have refused to normalize relations – namely Qatar and Kuwait. Oman, Libya, Palestine, Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon – a draft resolution includes escalations and threats to cut off oil supplies to Israel and its Western allies, and sever diplomatic and economic ties with Israel. According to some Arab sources, among them were the most important rejected proposals put in writing, as follows:
- Prevent the use of U.S. and other Arab military bases to provide weapons and ammunition to Israel.
- Freeze Arab diplomatic, economic, security and military relations with Israel.
- Threaten to use oil and Arab economic power to pressure Tel Aviv to cease aggression.
- Prevent Israeli civilian aircraft from flying in Arab airspace.
- Form a ministerial Arab committee that will immediately travel to New York, Washington, Brussels, Geneva, London and Paris to convey the Arab Summit’s demand for an immediate end to Israeli aggression in Gaza.
But countries that support normalizing relations rejected these proposals. In light of this contradiction, the special Arab summit was canceled and the previous African summit was postponed due to the Gaza war.
“Polisario” and African-African disputes
Perhaps the lack of a unified Arab position on the representation of the “Polisario” or so-called Sahrawi republics at this summit has led to deepening divisions between Arab states and the postponement of summits with African states . There are still two problems: the Arab axis is divided on this issue. The first axis includes: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Yemen, Somalia and Kuwait, which supports Morocco’s non-recognition of “Poly “Sario” position, which is also not recognized. It is recognized by the United Nations and the Arab League, while the other party, led by Algeria, recognizes it as a member of the African Union, formerly the Organization of African Unity.
As a result, Saudi Arabia reportedly postponed the summit, especially given the presence of the African-backed Polisario, led by South Africa, which was rejected by Riyadh and other Arab states. . Perhaps the Saudi position benefited from the atmosphere of the 4th Arab-African Summit hosted by Equatorial Guinea in 2016, which failed due to representatives of the “Polisario” and 8 Arab countries were forced to leave before the end of the meeting.
But the question remains: is the “Polisario” still a stumbling block to Arab-African reconciliation, and why did it not pose an obstacle at the third summit hosted by Kuwait in 2013! Is it possible to find a formula that helps overcome this problem?
Africans and the “Aqsa Flood”
But on the other hand, differences between Arab and Arab states cannot alone explain the postponement of the Arab-African summit, because African states are also divided on actions and support for the “Aqsa Flood”. Despite a statement by African Commission Chairman Moussa Faki confirming that the denial of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, in particular their right to establish an independent, sovereign Palestinian state, is the main cause of permanent Israeli-Palestinian tensions, this disparity in the country Layers still exist and can be divided into three categories:
- The first: supporting Palestine, led by South Africa, affirming that the root cause of the conflict is the illegal occupation and demanding a two-state solution and the opening of safe corridors, and linking Hamas as a resistance movement to the Palestinian people. South Africa’s national liberation movement opposed the apartheid regime, and the South African Anglican Church even considered Israel an “apartheid” state.
- Category 2: Pro-Israel, led by Cameroon, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Zambia and Rwanda, for a variety of reasons, most of which have to do with a desire to maintain close relations with both the United States and Israel at the same time.
- Third: Neutral, including: Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Rwanda, calling for a cessation of hostilities and dialogue to reach a two-state solution.
These differences at the African level may also be grounds for postponing the summit.
But the question remains: How long will the delay be? How long will the dream continue when both parties are unable or unwilling to realize common interests and block the possibility of merging the two entities, Arab and African, within the so-called “African-Arab” or “African” framework? The late African Muslim scholar Ali Mazrouei called for reconciliation, which he believed was a reality because non-African Arab countries such as Yemen are closer to the continent than African countries. Mauritius: On the other hand, he also believes that the Arab Gulf countries are closer to Africa than to non-Arab Asian countries.
The Gaza War allowed countries that supported Israel to temporarily forget their differences and stand together with Israel, in exchange for differences among Arab countries. This was reflected in reconciliation with Africa, and the Arab-African differences became the dominant force in the world. situation so far.