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Arab League Summit postponed in blow to Algeria's diplomatic hopes

Algeria's President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on June 12, 2021 [RYAD KRAMDI/AFP via Getty Images]
Algeria's President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on June 12, 2021 [RYAD KRAMDI/AFP via Getty Images]

Algeria's President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, announced on Wednesday that the thirty-first Arab League Summit will be postponed.

The Summit was due to take place in Algiers this March after Tebboune confirmed that Algeria would host it last November. It marks the second delay after a previous postponement due to the pandemic.

The new date of the Summit will be announced during a meeting of Arab foreign ministers at the headquarters of the General Secretariat in Cairo on 9 March, according to assistant Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Hossam Zaki.

In a statement, Zaki said that the new date will likely take place after Ramadan, which falls in April.

He added: "Algeria is completely ready to host the Summit and has shown potential for the success of the next Summit. Almost all arrangements are ready, both in terms of mobility, security and the media."

The postponement reportedly follows internal divisions and disagreements over when the Summit should take place. It also comes amidst heightened tensions across the region, most notably between Algeria and Morocco.

READ: The challenges facing Algeria at home and abroad in 2022

It is set to be the biggest diplomatic event hosted by Tebboune since he came to power in 2019. However, the delay will come as a blow to the President, who intends to use this event to bring an end to Algeria's diplomatic isolation and reposition himself among his Arab peers. After confirming last November that Algeria would host the Summit, Tebboune also expressed hopes that it would mark an opportunity to "reform the Arab League".

The government has spent recent weeks working to secure the support from Arab League members and boost participation levels. Tebboune was widely expected to visit Egypt this month and request their assistance in ensuring high attendance. Algerian Foreign Minister, Ramtane Lamamra, has also been touring Gulf States to persuade their leaders to attend the Summit.

Previous Arab Summits have suffered from low attendance from Arab leaders, something that Tebboune will wish to avoid at all costs as he works to improve Algeria's diplomatic standing.

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