The 2023 Arab League summit, officially the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Council of the League of Arab States at the Summit Level, is a meeting of heads of state and government of member states of the League of Arab States that took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 19 May 2023. All countries were represented at this meeting, including Syria, which returned triumphantly after its membership was suspended in 2011.

Speech of Bashar al-Assad, President of the Syrian Arab Republic



Your Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Your Majesties, Highnesses, and Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen…

Where does one begin his speech when the dangers are no longer imminent, but realized? He begins with the hope that motivates achievement and work. And when ailments accumulate, a doctor can treat them individually, provided he addresses the underlying disease causing them.

Therefore, we must look for the main issues that threaten our future and produce our crises, so that we do not drown and drown future generations in dealing with the consequences rather than the causes. Threats contain risks and opportunities. Today, we are presented with an opportunity as the international situation changes, and a multipolar world appears as a result of the dominance of the West, which is devoid of principles, ethics, friends, and partners. It is a historic opportunity to reorganize our affairs with the least possible foreign intervention, which requires repositioning ourselves in this world that is shaping today to be an active participant in it, and investing in the positive atmosphere resulting from the reconciliations that preceded the summit and made the situation as it is today.

It is an opportunity to solidify our culture in the face of the impending collapse with modern liberalism that targets the innate human nature and strips people of their ethics and identity, and to define our Arab identity with its civilizational dimension, as it is falsely accused of racism and chauvinism in order to make it in conflict with its natural national, ethnic, and religious components, so that our societies die in their struggle within themselves, and not with others.

There are many too many topics that cannot be discussed for lack of time, and summits would not be enough to evoke them all… They do not begin with the crimes of the Zionist entity, rejected by Arabs, against the Palestinian resistance people, nor do they end with the danger of the Ottoman expansionist thought grafted with a deviant Muslim Brotherhood flavour ; and they are inseparable from the challenge of development as a top priority for our developing societies. Here comes the role of the Arab League as a natural platform for discussing and addressing various issues, with the condition of its working system being reviewed in its charter, internal system, and the development of its mechanisms in line with the times. Joint Arab action needs common visions, strategies and goals that we later turn into executive plans. It needs a unified poliicy, firm principles and clear mechanisms and controls. That is how we’ll be able to move from mere reaction to the anticipation of events. Then the Arab League will be a way out in case of siege, not a partner to it, and a refuge from aggression and not an enabler for it.

As for the issues that concern us daily, from Libya to Syria, passing through Yemen and Sudan, and many other issues in different regions, we cannot treat diseases by treating symptoms. All of these issues are the results of larger problems that have not been dealt with previously. To talk about some of them, we need to address the cracks that have arisen on the Arab scene during the past decade and restore the role of the Arab League as a healer of wounds, not a deepener of wounds. The most important thing is to leave internal affairs to their peoples, as they are capable of managing their own affairs, and our role is only to prevent external interference in their countries and assist them exclusively upon request.

As for Syria, its past, present, and future is Arabism, but it is the Arabism of belonging, not the Arabism of embrace [alliances], because the embraces are transient, while belonging is permanent. A person may move from one embrace to another for some reason, but it does not change his belonging. Those who change it are without belonging in the first place, and those who fall in the heart do not fade in the embrace. Syria is the heart of Arabism and in its heart.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we hold this summit in a turbulent world, hope is rising in light of the Arab-Arab rapprochment, and regional and international rapprochment, that culminated with this summit, which I hope will mark the beginning of a new phase of Arab action, for solidarity among us, for peace in our region, for development and prosperity instead of war and destruction.

In accordance with the allocated five minutes for speeches, I extend my sincere thanks to the heads of delegations who have expressed their deep sympathy with Syria, and I reciprocate their sentiments. I also thank the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for the significant role he has played and the intensive efforts he has made to enhance reconciliation in our region and for the success of this summit. I wish him, His Highness the Crown Prince, and the brotherly Saudi people, continued progress and prosperity.

Peace be upon you, and may the mercy of God and His blessings.

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