The Arab League summit in Algiers concludes with the Algiers Declaration, which achieves consensus on the support of all member countries for the Palestinian cause. The Algiers Declaration, issued on Wednesday afternoon at the closing of the summit, reaffirms the points of the Saudi Initiative for peace between Palestine and Israel. The adoption of these commitments was one of Algeria's main objectives for this summit.
The text signed by the General Secretariat of the Arab League and member states closes without mentioning the threat of Iran in the Middle East and North Africa, a point that Morocco tried unsuccessfully to bring to the summit assemblies. Instead, representatives of the Arab world found common ground on the issue that still unites them all, despite the normalisation of relations between Israel and the adherents to the Abraham Accords.
"Importance of the centrality of the Palestinian cause, full support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to freedom, self-determination and the establishment of the independent and fully sovereign State of Palestine on the lines of 4 June 1967, with East Quds as its capital, the right of return and compensation for Palestinian refugees, in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 194 of 1948," states the first point of the full text of the Algiers Declaration. The text cites directly and in its entirety the 2002 Arab peace initiative, forged at the Beirut Arab summit and promoted by Saudi Arabia, also taking into account the vacating of all "Arab lands" conquered by Israel, as well as reparations for war damages.
Secondly, the declaration sought to show solidarity and support for some of the member states in particular difficulty. Libya, Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia and Syria were specifically mentioned in this section, due to the economic and governance crises that each of these League members are experiencing.
The Declaration expresses its desire to see joint initiatives flourish to address the global groundswell generated by the war in Ukraine through joint support tools for member countries. The League's OPEC+ member countries were also endorsed in the Declaration for the direction they have taken in recent months and their decision not to increase oil production despite pressure from the US and the EU. Support for the direction of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries in this regard is more sustained by countries such as Algeria and Egypt, which are keeping the price of a litre of diesel at USD 0.20 and USD 0.30 respectively, while in Morocco the price is as high as USD 1.49.
It remains to be seen whether the Arab countries, which as a bloc and in public rhetoric, face to face, maintain their support for the Palestinian pound, but many of them have found Israel to be a reliable and very profitable partner for business and cooperation. At major summits, the headlines may be favourable to Algeria and Palestine, but in closed negotiations, complicity with Israel is maintained.
In the corridors of Middle Eastern diplomatic delegations, Saudi Arabia is expected to join the Abraham Accords soon. If the giant of the Arabian Peninsula decides to do so, the balance will clearly tip in favour of the reformists. As for the representations of the countries that have normalised their relations with Israel as of 2019, their heads of state were conspicuous by their absence, probably foreseeing what would happen at the end of the summit and not wanting to attend a summit that would go against the Abraham Accords.
For its part, Algeria welcomes the points made in the declaration as important advances in its international agenda. After the closing of the summit, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was invited to install the pillars of the "residence of the Palestinian state" in Algiers, a construction financed by the government of Tebboune on a plot of land donated by the latter and located on the heights of the Algerian capital. For Algeria, presenting this summit as a success for its agenda could be a turning point at a time when it is strongly revitalising its foreign relations.
After mediating between the different factions on the Palestinian side and achieving a certain degree of unity, Algeria is now aiming to mediate in the Libyan crisis and in Mali. For these objectives, it is worth recalling the significant increase in defence budgets that Algiers is preparing for 2023.