Organisations Politiques et Economiques Regionales

Présentation générale de la Ligue Arabe

The League of Arab States, or Arab League, is a voluntary association of countries whose peoples are mainly Arabic speaking or where Arabic is an official language.

Its stated aims are to strengthen ties among member states, coordinate their policies and direct them towards a common good.

It has 22 members including Palestine, which the League regards as an independent state.

The idea of the Arab League was mooted in 1942 by the British, who wanted to rally Arab countries against the Axis powers. However, the league did not take off until March 1945, just before the end of World War II.

At that time the issues that dominated the league’s agenda were freeing those Arab countries still under colonial rule, and preventing the Jewish community in Palestine from creating a Jewish state.

The highest body of the league is the Council, composed of representatives of member states, usually foreign ministers, their representatives or permanent delegates. Each member state has one vote, irrespective of its size. The council meets twice a year, in March and September, and may convene a special session at the request of two members.

Day-to-day, the league is run by the general secretariat. Headed by a secretary-general, it is the administrative body of the league and the executive body of the council and the specialised ministerial councils.

• Founded: 1945

• Headquarters: Cairo, Egypt

• Key players: Egypt, Saudi Arabia

• Members: 22 members including Palestine

• Population: 300 million (approx)

• Area: 5.25 million square miles

Secretary-general: Nabil Elaraby

Nabil Elaraby was elected secretary-general of the Arab League in May 2011, succeeding fellow-Egyptian Amr Moussa. He took office in July.

Born in 1935 and a lawyer by training, Mr Al-Arabi had a long career in the Egyptian diplomatic corps, and played a significant role in negotiations with Israel from the Camp David accords onwards.

During the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak in early 2011 Mr Al-Arabi was one of a group of senior public figures who mediated the president’s departure. He briefly served as foreign minister before taking up his post at the Arab League. All secretaries-general of the League have been Egyptians, except for the period 1979-1991 when Egypt was expelled over its peace treaty with Israel.


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