But this year, the focus was different. The theme was largely different early April, as the participating countries had the chance to get first-hand information on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the genesis and its primary causes and implications for the Arab world.
Russian Foreign Affair Minister Sergey Lavrov said, during the talks with the Arab League contact group on Ukraine, that NATO countries continue their attempt to interfere in internal affairs of Middle Eastern and North African countries, preventing the region from sustainable development.
During the meeting, he discussed the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, where also there are crisis raging on, created by the aggressive politics of certain countries – mostly NATO states – who interfere in the situation and prevent the region from sustainable development for the sake of all citizens.
The negotiations involve foreign ministers of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Sudan, as well as Arab League Secretary General and UAE Ambassador to Moscow. The decision on establishment of the contact group on Ukraine was, earlier made during the Arab League Council meeting on March 9 in Cairo.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin has, on several occasions, articulated the goals of the special operation in Ukraine. Negotiations are working to set forth a treaty, which is supposed to establish peace. Referencing to the round of talks, especially that one that took place on March 29 in Istanbul, showed that the Ukrainian delegation’s position was becoming more realistic on matters dealing with ensuring Ukraine’s security.
With these latest developments, Lavrov stressed that the Kiev representatives realized they would not receive security guarantees within NATO so they should forget about joining the Alliance. There was also more realism on their behalf in terms of stipulating Ukraine’s neutral status in the agreement, as well as declaring it a non-nuclear state, considering how the Ukrainian leadership has been flirting with this topic in the past months.
In terms of its positioning, the Ukrainian delegation appears to be much more receptive on the status of Crimea, and the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. There is high hope that eventually its final version will contain all the necessary acceptable provisions.
In addition to the materials that regularly provided concerning the special military operation, Minister Lavrov, in details, updated the gathering on the most recent developments on Russia-Ukraine crisis. According to him, the situation is being leveraged to make injustice an inseparable part of international relations in order to thwart the creation of such relations in full accordance with the UN Charter.
There was chance to discuss the ongoing crisis in the Middle East and North Africa, as he described it “that is caused by the aggressive policies of a number of countries, mostly NATO members. They continue to destabilize the situation and hinder the sustainable development of the region for the benefit of the people of all countries.”
The League of Arab States, used the occasion, to note the significant opportunities and diverse interests in promoting business cooperation between Russian and Arab organizations. The key areas to increase mutual investment and implement promising joint projects in the manufacturing industry and agriculture, energy and high technologies, transport and infrastructure. Reaffirmed the importance of a regular exchange of opinions and coordination of positions on major regional and international issues.
Later, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt Sameh Shoukry headed the delegation of the Arab League Contact Group on Ukraine. In the course of their confidential conversation, Sergey Lavrov and Sameh Shoukry confirmed the willingness of Moscow and Cairo to build up multifaceted bilateral ties in accordance with the Comprehensive Partnership and Strategic Cooperation Agreement signed in 2018.
With the Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Foreign Minister of Egypt Sameh Shoukry during a separate meeting, Lavrov again described the origins of the current situation as brewing for many years due to the attempts of Western neighbours to turn Ukraine into a real anti-Russia.
He, however, went over the history and chronology of the events in Ukraine, and its influence on bilateral relations and cooperation with the Arab world, the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, expressed gratitude to the Arab League for the decisions it made in connection with and during the crisis in Ukraine, including at the plenary meeting of all Arab League members in the first half of March 2022.
An in-depth exchange of views, during the meeting, on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, further discussed specifics about the situation in Libya, Yemen and Syria. The meeting also examined the problem of Palestine, as well as negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation, after both the Federation Council and the State Duma (legislative chambers) approved the implementation of the presidential decision that has since sparked debates throughout the world.
According to Russian sources, the special operation aims at “demilitarization and denazification” in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine. It has resultantly pushed the United States and Canada, European Union members, Australia, New Zealand and many other external countries to impose sanctions against the Russian Federation.