Zelensky Attends Arab League Summit in Saudi Arabia

U.S. officers stated that Egyptian state-owned arms makers have agreed to a contract to provide artillery shells for the USA and American contractors, who, in flip, will ship them to Ukraine.

This Arab League summit would be the first one attended by President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in 13 years. He was lengthy shunned regionally and internationally over his violent suppression of Syria’s Arab Spring rebellion greater than a decade in the past, which grew into an extended civil conflict that continues, although combating has floor to a standstill.

Mr. al-Assad’s forces used chemical weapons in opposition to their very own individuals in the course of the conflict, which has killed a whole lot of 1000’s of individuals and displaced thousands and thousands. Russia offered vital help to the Syrian dictator in that conflict and used techniques, together with strikes in opposition to civilian targets, that it has since employed in Ukraine.

Arab League summits are sometimes staid affairs of largely regional curiosity, however Mr. al-Assad’s reintegration has drawn widespread consideration, together with criticism from some American lawmakers and from Syrians against his rule. It has additionally sparked controversy within the area, the place many are uncomfortable with the concept of re-legitimizing a pacesetter accused of conflict crimes.

Mr. Zelensky’s arrival in Jeddah appeared more likely to divert some consideration away from Mr. al-Assad’s presence. Saudi state tv confirmed Prince Mohammed greeting Mr. al-Assad with kisses on the cheek and an extended handshake, within the first in-person assembly between the 2 leaders.

Arab nations corresponding to Egypt and Tunisia have been among the many nations hardest hit by the worldwide repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Each these nations have been deeply dependent earlier than the conflict on grain from Russia and Ukraine — Egypt is the world’s No. 1 importer of wheat, and each Egypt and Tunisia closely subsidize bread for his or her poorest residents. The 2 nations discovered themselves scrambling after the conflict started to feed their populations at a value that may not bankrupt them.

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In Egypt, the conflict’s affect crystallized longstanding issues with the nation’s financial system, leaving Egyptians reeling from hovering inflation and a scarcity of imported items. Revenue from Ukrainian and Russian vacationers additionally dried up, blowing a gap in a vital business. The shock the invasion despatched via world markets additionally prompted buyers to tug billions of {dollars} out of Egyptian bonds, setting off a financial disaster.

But many Egyptians and different Arabs have sided with Russia partly out of antipathy towards the West, and Egypt has tried to strike a steadiness between sustaining heat ties with Moscow and never offending its U.S. and European allies.

Jean Nicholas

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