Qatar refused to assume the presidency of the 154th regular session of the Arab League at the ministerial level instead of Palestine, which has recently resigned from the position, based on a report by the Middle East Monitor.
Qatar announced in a statement on Thursday evening:
“We apologise for not completing the aforementioned session, which the State of Palestine abandoned, while adhering to the right of the State of Qatar to the next presidency of the 155th session of March 2021.” (Middle East Monitor)
Qatar was selected alphabetically and in accordance with Article VI of the rules of procedure of the league council, which states:
“If the president of the council at the ministerial level is unable to assume the position, the temporary presidency is assigned to the delegate of the country that will head the next session.”
Palestine decided last Tuesday to abandon its right to chair the Arab League Council which is based on an alphabetical rotation of Arab countries for the current session that runs till March 2021 (when Qatar will take over), in response to the Arab countries normalising their ties with Israel, without any thought of the Israeli occupation.
The Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki confirmed that the decision to step down came after the league’s general secretariat supported the Emirati and Bahraini normalisation with Israel, which is in clear contradiction to the Arab Peace Initiative, and did not agree to a draft resolution that condemned a normalisation of the UAE's relations with Israel.
Their delegation brought a draft resolution to the Council's meeting, which brings together foreign ministers of the 22-member bloc, to condemn the normalisation accord, but it did not get adopted, as reported by The New Arab.
The Cairo meeting came ahead of another deal announced by Bahrain with Israel. Both deals were signed in Washington on 15 September and gave Israel full diplomatic, economic, and cultural relations despite its illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Maliki said that the Arab League secretariat had taken a position supportive of the Gulf states' normalisation deals, in violation of the Arab League's own principles regarding peace with Israel.
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