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Arab League head gets unanimous approval for second term

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Tunis, Tunisia on March 30, 2019. [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Tunis, Tunisia on March 30, 2019. [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]

Arab Foreign Ministers approved on Wednesday the reappointment of Ahmed Aboul Gheit for a second term as Secretary-General of the Arab League. The vote was said to be unanimous.

The 78 year old, who served as Egypt's foreign minister between 2004 and 2011, was first elected to lead the Cairo-based organisation in 2016. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi sent letters to the heads of the Arab states letting them know that Egypt would renew its nomination of Aboul Gheit and calling on them to support its choice.

The Arab leaders agreed, and duly approved the reappointment of Aboul Gheit, who was a fierce critic of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and big supporter of Israel when he was foreign minister in Cairo. When the Palestinians in besieged Gaza broke through the border with Egypt in 2008 to try to buy essential goods, he got so angry that he pledged to "break the legs" of any who tried to enter Egypt again.

Since the Arab League was founded in 1945, Egyptian diplomats have been chosen to lead it, apart from when Egypt broke the Arab consensus and signed a peace deal with Israel in 1979; the organisation was moved to Tunis. In 1990, it returned to Cairo and Egyptian diplomats again took the top position.

The Palestinian Authority has called on the Arab League, along with other international bodies, to take a more effective role in the peace process.

READ: Iraq FM calls to restore Syria's membership to the Arab League

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