Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Sunday the absence of national states in the Arab world has encouraged Turkey and Iran to seek to pursue their interests in the region.
Speaking at the World Youth Forum in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh, he rejected referring to the anti-government protests and uprisings that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s as the “Arab Spring.”
He blamed the revolts and the 2003 invasion of Iraq for destabilizing the region and weakening of national states. This left the region prey to Iran and Turkey.
He also addressed Ethiopia’s construction of the renaissance dam, saying that amid such tumult in the Arab world, some neighbors have sought to seize water supplies. He also criticized Israel, saying it has taken advantage of the unrest in the Arab world to shirk its commitments to the peaceful settlement of its conflict with the Palestinians.
Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, said that “the world is confronting the modern-day scourge of terrorism, which is a result of the accumulation of several factors, including educational, social and economic ones.”
He said terrorism is never justified. “It has no religion, no nationality and no ethnicity,” Al-Othaimeen said.
Held under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the third edition of the World Youth Forum kicked off on Saturday. Around 7,000 individuals are taking part in the forum, which concludes on Tuesday. They will attend 24 sessions and 14 workshops.
Discussions will focus on energy sources in the Mediterranean, food security in Africa, climate change, international security and the fight against terrorism.