A Sea of Flags and Tense Anticipation Inside the Arab League Summit in Bahrain

by BTM

Tue, 04 June 2024

33rd Arab Summit hosted by the Kingdom of Bahrain

Red House Marketing Chairman and Bahrain This Month Publisher, George Middleton, shares his thoughts following the conclusion of the 33rd Arab Summit hosted by the Kingdom of Bahrain on May 16. 

The air crackled with an electric mix of anticipation and apprehension as I arrived at the media centre based at The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa which had direct tele-links with Al Sakhir Palace where the 33rd Arab League Summit took place in the middle of May 2024.

Leaders from across the Arab world, with an urgent commitment, gathered for a crucial meeting against a backdrop of ongoing regional tensions and the ever-present Palestinian issue. 

The summit’s theme, “Arab Unity and Cooperation: A Pathway to a Secure and Prosperous Future,” hung heavily in the air. Optimistic pronouncements of solidarity echoed through the halls, but still, one could sense the weight of current challenges in the pursuit of peace and justice. 

The most significant takeaway was the renewed focus on the Palestinian question. Frustration with the stalled peace process ran high. Leaders unanimously called for a UN-backed international peace conference on Palestinian statehood, urging the UN Security Council to revisit its recent resolution. 

It was a pleasure to witness the successful organisation of the summit under the direct auspices of HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa as they went to great pains to emphasise the need for regional cooperation in crucial sectors. 

Healthcare collaboration garnered considerable interest, with discussions focusing on establishing a unified strategy to address the ongoing struggles of war-torn areas. This resonated deeply with delegates from countries grappling with refugee crises and internal conflicts. Additionally, the summit saw a push for joint Arab initiatives in the burgeoning field of financial technology, aiming to leverage the region’s vast potential in this domain. 

While the summit concluded with affirmations of Arab solidarity, the road ahead remains uncertain. The success of the proposed international peace conference for Palestine hangs in the balance of overcoming internal divisions and crafting a unified Arab strategy. Additionally, translating the rhetoric of economic cooperation into concrete action will require overcoming decades old rivalries in a new era of trust and cooperation amongst the member states. 

Only time will tell if the Arab League Summit in Bahrain can translate its aspirations into tangible results. However, the gathering served as a potent reminder that the future of the Arab world lies in collaborative efforts to overcome current challenges and foster a more secure and prosperous region. 

For me, the experience of having been media accredited to one of the most august and impactful political gatherings of our time, was an absolute honour and privilege. It also filled me with immense pride to be able to witness the Kingdom of Bahrain’s successful planning and implementation of such a major international convocation so seamlessly and efficiently.

As well as witnessing the events taking place at the Arab League Summit at Sakhir Palace via a direct teleconference link, we were able to participate in a press conference physically attended by Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, HE Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, together with Ahmed Aboul Gheit the Secretary-General of the Arab League. Almost every journalist in the room had their hand raised although most, like me, were unsuccessful in their quest to question the leaders present due to the sheer numbers involved.

I am glad for the experience and look forward to future opportunities to participate in similar events orchestrated by the National Communication Centre and The Ministry of Information in the Kingdom of Bahrain.