Member states of the Arab League and the United Nations Security Council held talks in Cairo on Saturday on a range of regional and global issues in what was described in a UN statement as an “unprecedented” consultative meeting.
The representatives discussed an array of issues, ranging from developments in Palestine, Libya and Somalia to the Middle East peace process. They also tackled the challenges posed by the increasingly volatile refugee situation in the region and the problem with illegal immigrants and displaced persons.
The meeting opened with Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Araby delivering a keynote address in which he underscored the importance of deepening cooperation and coordination between the Arab League and the UN on an array of issues. In particular, he stressed that cooperation between the organizations should be enhanced regarding matters relating to international peace and security, and stability in the Arab region and around the world.
A number of representatives from both sides called for holding talks on a regular basis, with some expressing a willingness to establish a permanent mechanism for discussions between the organizations.
Al-Araby, a veteran Egyptian diplomat, added that it is necessary to reconsider the way in which the Security Council operates in order for it to be able to better deal with crises threatening international peace and security, as well as resolving conflicts peacefully. He indicated the role that regional organizations can play in this regard.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement that the visit by the Security Council delegation “comes as part of an Egyptian initiative through Egypt’s current presidency of the Security Council.” A meeting was held between Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the Security Council delegation in which they discussed the situation in Palestine, Syria, Libya, Somalia and South Sudan.
Egypt officially locked a two-year, non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council after 179 of the 193 UN member states voted in favor of its membership in October last year. The country is heading the Security Council’s meetings during the month of May and has vowed to promote Arab and African issues, in addition to leading discussions on the ideological discourse of extremist organizations.