The tale of the two summits.

The limelight of this week has been two Summits hosted by cities, almost 9,000 kilometers apart, for discourse on ways to combat difficult challenges affecting international and regional peace, stability and progress. Saudi Arabia hosted the Arab League Summit in Jeddah on 19 May while Japan was host to the G-7 Summit in Hiroshima on 19-21 May. Both events conveyed messages of crucial importance although with differing nuances.

Arab Leagues' Jeddah Summit has further elevated stature of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman for his relentless pursuit of regional stability and economic integration. The hallmark of Jeddah Summit was presence of two leaders - Syria's President Bashar Al Assad and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Assad attended the Summit after a hiatus of over 12 years since Arab League suspended Syria in 2011 due to infighting in the country. In recent years Syrian government quelled rebels to a large extent with active support from Russia and Iran. Return of Syria to Arab mainstream also signifies efforts to recover from negative effects of Arab Spring that caused disruptions in many stable countries of the broader Middle East and North Africa region.

Saudi efforts are making an impact in promoting regional cohesion and ending intra-Arab divisions that have been harmful for not only Arab world but the wider region around it. Analysts believe the ongoing Saudi-Iran rapprochement with Chinese support will help bring an end to civil war in Yemen and strengthen regional peace.

The message of the Crown Prince at the Summit was loud and clear. He said: 'We assure friendly countries in the East and the West that we are moving forward in peace. We will not allow our region to turn into a zone of conflict... It is enough for us for turning the page of the past, to remember the painful years of the conflicts that the peoples of the region suffered from and because of which development was faltered in the region.'

Importantly, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a crucial balancer. While the invitation to Syrian President received some Western criticism, Zelensky's attendance at the Summit signaled availability of Saudi good offices for mediating sensitive regional conflicts. Zelensky thanked Saudi offer of mediation for ending the Ukraine-Russia war as well as Crown Prince's efforts last year for release of prisoners. However, he criticised some members of Arab League for turning a blind eye to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT