The first Arab League summit since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic is set to begin in Algeria, but political divisions continue to rankle among the regional organisation’s members.
Arab states are split over issues ranging from support for the Palestinian cause, the regional roles of Iran and Turkey and the rehabilitation of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, while Algeria’s own bitter feud with Morocco continues to fester.
In Algeria, largely absent from Arab affairs for several years following the 2019 mass protests that led to the ousting of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the meeting has been portrayed as a mark of its return to front-line diplomacy. “The summit shows that Algeria is back in international affairs after years of isolation due to Bouteflika’s illness, the protest movement, COVID-19 and the financial crisis,” a former Algerian government minister and the ambassador said.
Last month Algiers convened Palestinian factions in an effort to end years of internal discord, and President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has in recent months hosted the leaders of France and Italy.