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King to visit US days after Arab summit

By JT - Mar 26,2017 - Last updated at Mar 26,2017

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, joined by Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani, speaks to reporters at the Dead Sea, the venue for the Arab summit meetings, on Sunday (Petra photo)

DEAD SEA — His Majesty King Abdullah, who will preside over the Arab League Council meeting at the summit level on Wednesday, will visit Washington days after the Arab summit ends, as Monarch and president of the Arab summit, a senior official announced Sunday.

During his US visit, the King will discuss major challenges facing the Arab world, including the issue of Jerusalem, the dangers of extremism and terrorism and conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen, Government Spokesperson and Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani told reporters as the preparatory meetings of the Arab summit continued.

On Sunday, the Economic and Social Council ministerial meeting convened to discuss socioeconomic issues affecting Arabs across the region. 

Inter-Arab trade, customs unity, technological innovation and food security were amongst the 10 final proposals to be referred to leaders during their summit on Wednesday. 

Speaking at a press conference marking the conclusion of the ministerial meeting, Momani, who heads the summit’s media committee, noted that these propositions proved that the summit was to be of “utmost political and diplomatic importance”, as Arab leaders and officials meet to discuss a progressive vision regarding several challenges. 

For his part, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi stressed the importance of the event in bringing together Arab nations as well as enhancing and strengthening agreement on a number of regional challenges.

While he acknowledged the divergences between Arab states present at the summit, he stressed that “what brings us together is more than what separates us”.

At a meeting with reporters on Sunday, the top diplomat said that the summit would be a “hub for more consensus and… constitutes a positive step for the Arab world”.

He, nonetheless, said it was necessary to remain “realistic” in expectations from the pan-Arab gathering.

As Arab officials are meeting to address the many challenges faced by the Arab world, a wide array of other actors were also concerned with the event. Local journalists, international correspondents as well as citizens all expressed their hopes and concerns over the possible outcomes of the event.

Journalists from all over the world gathered at the Dead Sea to cover the 28th Arab summit. While commending preparations and organisation measures, journalists agreed that the lack of access to one-to-one interviews with officials from the region limited their coverage. They also stressed the need for the summit’s outcomes to be translated into effective implementation measures.

As for the Jordanian public, many expressed hope that this year’s summit would bring solutions to their Palestinian and Syrian neighbours’ issues.

Expressing most of her fellow citizens’ opinions, Hanadi Hassan, 33, said: “We hear every year that the Arab leaders are meeting, but with every year, the situation of the Arab region worsens. I really hope that it will be different this time, I hope that Arabs find courage and stand together.” 

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