Newly elected Arab League secretary-general Ahmed Aboul-Gheit expressed his gratitude towards Arab leaders who supported his nomination, and vows to increase cooperation between members.
Twenty Arab foreign ministers approved Aboul-Gheit’s nomination to the new position after his predecessor Nabil El-Araby decided not to seek another term.
“There is a huge burden of responsibility that comes with this position, during a tough time for all Arab countries,” said Aboul-Gheit
Aboul-Gheit also pledged that the Arab League will combat regional challenges and enhance its capacity, in addition to increasing collaboration between its members.
Only two countries chose not to vote for Aboul-Gheit as the new secretary general. Qatar said it wanted to postpone the election and refused to comment further, while Sudan decided not to vote for Aboul-Gheit because they wanted to nominate their own candidate.
Qatar’s hostility towards Aboul-Gheit dates back to 2008, when he served as Egypt’s foreign minister under former president Hosni Mubarak. In an emergency summit held in Doha among Arab leaders to discuss the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Mubarak reportedly objected to Qatar’s leadership in the summit.
During his time as foreign minister, Aboul-Gheit faced widespread criticism for receiving his Israeli counterpart amid an Israeli offensive in Gaza.
Al-Araby, whose current term ends on 1 July, announced Sunday that he will not run for another term in office, as reported by Egyptian state news agency MENA. Al-Araby was appointed Arab League secretary general in March 2011.
The ministers also discussed preparations needed for the upcoming Arab Summit in Mauritania during a meeting on Thursday.