23 March 2019

Tunisia: Timeline of Arab Summits and Tunisia's Participation

Tunis/Tunisia — The level of participation and representation of Tunisia in the Arab summits differed, with successive Presidents of the Republic heading the Tunisian delegation in summits and prime ministers and foreign ministers entrusted with this task in others.

Late President Habib Bourguiba took part in the Cairo summit in January 1964, Algeria in November 1973, Morocco in October 1974 and the Tunis summit in November 1979.

Former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali headed the Tunisian delegation to 12 summits and former president Moncef Marzouki led the Tunisian delegation to the 2012, 2013 and 2014 summits.

Current president Beji Caid Essebsi participated in the Arab summits that were held in Jordan and Saudi Arabia in 2017 and 2018, respectively, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs represented him in the Nouakchott Summit in Mauritania in 2016.

Tunisia hosted the headquarters of the Arab League from 1979 to 1990, after the Baghdad Summit in 1978 approved an Iraqi request.

This came after Egypt signed the Camp David accords with Israel and the rejection of the summit of this agreement and its decision to transfer the headquarters of the Arab League to Tunisia and suspend the membership of Egypt.

Although Tunisia participated in most of the Arab Summits, except for a few exceptional summits. It boycotted the Casablanca summit held on September 13, 1965, because of its disagreement with Egypt over the way to deal with Israel, especially following the speech by former President Habib Bourguiba in Jericho on March 3, 1965, and his call for the endorsement of the "policy of stages" and the possibility of temporary compromise with regard to the Palestinian issue.

Here follows the chronology from the first summit of 1946 in Egypt to the last summit hosted by Saudi Arabia in 2018:

Anshas (Egypt) May 28-29, 1946:

The summit was held at the invitation of King Farouk, in the presence of the seven founding countries of the Arab League; Egypt, East Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.

The Summit issued a number of resolutions, including helping the colonized Arab peoples to gain their independence, and emphasizing that the Palestinian cause is the heart of national issues as a country inseparable from the rest of the Arab countries.

They also called for the need to stand up to Zionism as a danger not only to Palestine but also to all Arab and Islamic countries.

The Summit also called for the complete cessation of Jewish immigration, preventing that Arab lands pass into the hands of the Zionists and for the achievement of the independence of Palestine.

Beirut (Lebanon) November 13-14, 1956

The summit was held at the invitation of Lebanese President Camille Chamoun, following the joint Israeli-British-French attack on Egypt and the Gaza Strip, and issued a final statement.

In that statement, the leaders agreed to support Egypt against the triple aggression, and in case the aggressor states did not comply with UN resolutions and refrained from pulling out their forces, the Arab States present at the meeting would use their right to legitimate self-defence.

The summit expressed support for the struggle of the Algerian people for independence.

Cairo, Egypt, January 13, 1964

Is the first ordinary Arab summit, held at the invitation of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, to discuss the Jordan River headwater diversion plan by Israel.

The summit called upon the countries and peoples of the world to stand by the Arab nation in countering the Israeli aggression.

The final statement of the Summit comprised a number of resolutions, including the establishment of a unified Arab leadership for the armies of the Arab States, which establishment will begin under the umbrella of the Arab League, as well as the establishment of the Jordan River Water Exploitation Commission with a legal personality within the Arab League.

Tunisia participated in this summit with a delegation headed by former President Habib Bourguiba.

Alexandria (Egypt) September 5-6, 1964

The Summit welcomed the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and endorsed it as a representative of the Palestinian people in assuming responsibility for the work on the question of Palestine.

The summit decided to start implementing the project of exploiting the water of Jordan River and protect it militarily. It also decided to confront the anti-Arab forces, foremost Britain, over colonising some Arab regions and exploiting their riches as well as to increase cooperation and bolster economic support of Maghreb countries.

Tunisia took part with a delegation headed by Behi Ladgham, former State Secretary for the Presidency and National Defence.

Casablanca (Morocco) September 13, 1965

It was attended by 12 Arab countries, in addition to the Palestine Liberation Organisation and boycotted by Tunisia, which was at odds with Egypt due to divergent positions regarding the confrontation with Israel, especially following the speech by former President Habib Bourguiba in Jericho on March 3, 1965, and his call for acceptance of division and the policy of stages in dealing with the case.

A final statement was issued with a number of resolutions, including particularly the approval of the text of the Arab solidarity charter and the request of the Palestine Liberation Organisation to establish a Palestinian national council and adopt the unified Arab plan to defend the Palestinian cause in the United Nations and in international forums.

Khartoum, Sudan, August 29, 1967

The 3 No's Summit was held after the "setback" of June 1967 and attended by all the Arab countries except Syria.

Adopted the slogan "no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel," and decided to resume the export of oil abroad and the elimination of foreign bases in the Arab countries.

The summit approved the establishment of the Arab Economic Development Fund.

Tunisia participated in this summit with a delegation headed by former State Secretary Behi Ladgham.

Rabat (Morocco) December 21-23, 1969

It called for the end of military operations in Jordan between the Palestinian fighters and the Jordanian armed forces and support for the Palestinian revolution.

Tunisia participated with a delegation led by former State Minister Taieb Slim.

Cairo, Egypt, September 23, 1970

It was an extraordinary summit, following the violent clashes in Jordan between Jordanians and Palestinians, boycotted by Iraq, Syria, Algeria and Morocco.

A final statement was issued. Among its most important decisions were the formation of a quadripartite committee to resolve the dispute between the two parties, leading to reconciliation between Jordan's King Hussein and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Tunisia took part with a delegation headed by former Prime Minister Behi Ladgham.

Algeria (Algeria) November 26, 1973

Was held at the initiative of Syria and Egypt after the October War and boycotted by Iraq and Libya.

The establishment of two conditions for peace with Israel, the withdrawal of Israel from all Arab territories occupied in 1967, foremost of which is Al-Quds and the restoration of the Palestinian people's established national rights.

Continued use of the Arab oil weapon and lifting the ban on the export of oil to countries that commit to support the just Arab cause. Tribute was paid to the African countries that had taken decisions to sever their relations with Israel.

Accession of the Mauritanian Republic to the Arab League.

Tunisia participated with a delegation headed by former President Habib Bourguiba.

Rabat (Morocco) October 26, 1974

All Arab countries were present, including Somalia that participated for the first time.

Call for the complete liberation of all the Arab territories occupied in 1967, the liberation of the city of Al Quds and the adoption of the Palestine Liberation Organisation as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

Establishment of a special fund for Arab media.

Tunisia participated in this summit with a delegation headed by former President Habib Bourguiba.

Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) October 16, 1976 (extraordinary)

Held at the invitation of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and included six countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Kuwait, Lebanon and the Palestine Liberation Organisation to discuss the crisis in Lebanon.

Called upon the parties to the conflict to cease fire, restore normal life, respect Lebanon's sovereignty and refuse to divide it and reconstruct it.

- Decide to strengthen Arab security forces to become a deterrent force of 30,000 soldiers.

Cairo (Egypt) October 25-26, 1976

Was held to discuss the Lebanese crisis, which was considered at the Riyadh extraordinary summit.

The summit called the Arab countries to contribute according to their capabilities in the reconstruction of Lebanon, financing the Arab deterrent forces and establishing a fund to finance the Arab security forces in Lebanon.

Tunisia participated in the summit with a delegation led by Habib Chatti, former Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Baghdad, Iraq, November 2, 1978

The summit was held at the request of Iraq, after Egypt signed the Camp David Accords with Israel. In the absence of Egypt, the summit rejected the agreement and called on Egypt to backtrack on it. It decided to transfer the headquarters of the Arab League to Tunisia and suspend the membership of Egypt.

Tunisia participated in the summit with a delegation led by Mohamed Fittouri, former Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Tunisia 20 November 1979

Held at the invitation of former President Habib Bourguiba.

Arab leaders renew their condemnation of the Camp David Accords and decide to continue boycotting the Egyptian regime and countering the transfer of the Israeli capital to Al Quds.

The final statement of the summit, on the other hand, included a condemnation of the US policy in the region and its support for Israel, as well as condemnation of the Israeli aggression against southern Lebanon.

Amman (Jordan) November 25, 1980

A final statement was issued from the Summit, which was attended by 15 Arab countries. It contained a number of resolutions including the Arab leaders' intention to bring down the Camp David Accords and their assertion that the UN Security Council Resolution 242 is not a viable basis for a solution in the region, their call to resolve the Arab differences and their condemnation of the US continued support for Israel and pinning the terrorism label on the PLO.

The summit boycotted by Syria, Algeria, the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Lebanon decides to support Iraq in its war with Iran.

Tunisia participated in this summit with a delegation led by Mohamed Mzali, former Prime Minister.

Fez (Morocco) November 25, 1981

Was attended by all the Arab countries except Egypt and dealt with a Saudi eight-point initiative for the settlement of the Palestinian issue. The summit ended five hours after its beginning because of disputes and differences of views and positions.

The Summit works were postponed to a later date in Fez as well.

Mohamed Mzali, former Prime Minister, led the Tunisian delegation.

Fez (Morocco) September 6-9, 1982

The establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Al Quds as its capital, the affirmation of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the compensation of those who do not wish to return.

Establishment of a committee composed of representatives of the PLO, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Algeria and Tunisia, whose mission is to establish contacts with the permanent members of the UN Security Council to explain the Summit resolutions related to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The summit called, with regard to the Iraqi-Iranian war, for the need for the parties to abide by Security Council resolutions and declare that any aggression against any Arab country is an attack on all the Arab countries.

Tunisia participated with a delegation led by Mohamed Mzali, former Prime Minister.

Casablanca (Morocco) 1985 7-9 October (extraordinary)

The summit discussed the Palestinian issue, the deterioration of the situation in Lebanon and international terrorism. Among its resolutions was the establishment of two committees to improve the Arab atmosphere, resolve disputes between Arab states, and condemn terrorism in all its forms, types and sources.

Tunisia participated with a delegation led by Mohamed Mzali, Prime Minister and Interior Minister at the time.

Amman (Jordan) November 8, 1987 (extraordinary)

The special summit discussed the issue of the war between Iraq and Iran and decided on full solidarity with Iraq and standing with it in its legitimate defence of its territory and condemnation of Iran's continued occupation of the Arab territories in Iraq.

The summit looked at the issue of Egypt's return to the Arab ranks.

Tunisia participated with a delegation headed by Mahmoud Mestiri, former Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Algeria (Algeria) June 7, 1988 (extraordinary)

Held at the initiative of Algerian President Chadli Bendjedid. It called for supporting the first Palestinian popular uprising in the occupied territories and condemning the American policy that is biased towards Israel.

The final statement of the summit condemned the American aggression on Libya and supported Libya's sovereignty over the Gulf of Sirte.

Tunisia participated with a delegation headed by former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Casablanca (Morocco) May 23, 1989 (extraordinary)

The extraordinary summit that witnessed the return of Egypt to the Arab League and expressed its support for the Palestinian state announced by Yasser Arafat on November 15, 1988, at the conclusion of the Palestinian National Council in Algeria and working to expand recognition and support the convening of the International Peace Conference in the Middle East.

Tunisia participated with a delegation headed by former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Baghdad, Iraq May 28, 1990 (extraordinary)

Held at the invitation of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, in the absence of Syria and Lebanon. Considered Al Quds the capital of the state of Palestine and condemned the decision of the US Congress to consider Al Quds as the capital of Israel, welcomed the unity of Yemen and warned of the escalation of waves of Jewish immigration to Palestine and its danger to Arab national security.

It also condemned US threats to Libya and expressed solidarity with Libya against the economic blockade.

Tunisia took part with a delegation headed by former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Cairo (Egypt) October 15, 1990 (extraordinary)

Was held after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, in the absence of Tunisia, which called for its postponement, and all Gulf leaders except for the Emir of Bahrain.

Condemning the Iraqi aggression against Kuwait, asserting Kuwait's sovereignty and not recognizing Iraq's annexation of Kuwait.

A joint Arab force was sent to the Gulf at the request of Riyadh.

Cairo (Egypt) June 21, 1996 (extraordinary)

After a six-year hiatus, the summit decided to support peace efforts based on UN Security Council resolutions, as well as support for Iraq's agreement with the United Nations on the oil-for-food program.

Initial approval of the establishment of the Arab Court of Justice and the Arab League Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution.

Tunisia took part with a delegation headed by former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Cairo (Egypt) October 21, 2000 (extraordinary)

An extraordinary summit called the "Al-Aqsa Conference", held after the outbreak of the second intifada, which erupted after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon entered the Al-Haram Al-Sharif. It was attended by all Arab countries.

The participants decided to establish a fund to support the Intifada "Al Quds Intifada Fund" and another to protect Al Aqsa Mosque "Al-Aqsa Fund."

Tunisia participated with a delegation headed by former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Amman, Jordan, March 28, 2011

The summit pledged to support the Palestinian people's financial and political resistance and expressed deep resentment that the United States vetoed a draft resolution on the protection of the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territories and the establishment of the United Nations observer force.

Tunisia participated with a delegation headed by former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Beirut, Lebanon, March 27, 2002

Called for the complete withdrawal from the Arab territories occupied in 1967, including the Syrian Golan and the occupied territories in southern Lebanon, and for the need to find a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution 194.

The summit witnessed a breakthrough in the strained relations between Kuwait and Iraq and in Saudi-Iraqi relations.

Tunisia took part with a delegation headed by former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) March 1, 2003

Expressed its absolute rejection of attacking Iraq and threatening the security and safety of any Arab country, as a threat to Arab national security and the need to resolve the Iraqi crisis through peaceful means within the framework of international legitimacy and demanded that the inspection teams be granted sufficient time to complete its mission in Iraq.

Tunisia participated with a delegation led by Habib Ben Yahia, former Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Tunis Summit (Tunisia), May 22-23, 2004

The Arab leaders agreed at this summit to adopt a Document of Covenant, Accord and Solidarity among the leaders of the Arab countries, and to embrace the Arab peace initiative and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Al Quds as its capital.

Agreement on amendments to the Charter of the Arab League for the first time since 1945.

Summit of Algeria (Algeria) March 22-23, 2005

Release of the Declaration of Algiers which stressed the need to activate the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Beirut Summit in 2002, and to uphold the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Madrid land-for-peace principle.

The establishment of a transitional Arab parliament for a period of five years, which may be extended for a maximum period of two years.

Tunisia took part with a delegation headed by former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Khartoum, Sudan, March 28-29, 2006

Approved the establishment of the Arab Peace and Security Council under the supervision of the Arab League Council to replace the Arab League Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution.

Tunisia participated with a delegation led by Mohamed Ghannouchi, former Prime Minister.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 28-29, 2007

Renewed Arab commitment to a just and comprehensive peace as a strategic option and reaffirmed its commitment to the Arab peace initiative as endorsed by the 2002 Beirut Summit, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Al Quds as its capital.

The Summit decided to hold an Arab summit dedicated to economic and social issues.

Tunisia took part with a delegation headed by Mohamed Ghannouchi, former Prime Minister.

Damascus, Syria, March 29-30, 2008

The first summit to be held in Syria since the establishment of the Arab League in 1945.

It decided to see to it to continue providing all forms of political, material and moral support to the Palestinian people and to resolve the issue of the disputed islands of the United Arab Emirates with Iran.

Tunisia participated with a delegation headed by former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Doha, Qatar, March 30, 2009

The Doha Declaration stressed the need to respect the Palestinian legitimacy and end the differences between the Palestinian factions and to confirm adherence to the Arab peace initiative as an Arab strategic option to achieve a just and comprehensive peace. It also affirmed the rejection of the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Tunisia participated with a delegation headed by former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Sirte (Libya) October 9, 2010 (extraordinary)

Approval of the recommendations emanating from the meeting of the five-member higher committee for the development of the Joint Arab action system.

Tunisia participated with a delegation headed by former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Baghdad (Iraq) March 29, 2012

Called for dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition whom they asked to unify its ranks. It called on the government and all opposition factions to deal positively with the UN and Arab joint envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, to start a serious national dialogue based on the solution plan put forward by the League and the UN General Assembly resolution.

Tunisia participated with a delegation headed by former President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki.

Doha, Qatar, March 26, 2013

The summit, which was held under the slogan "The Arab Nation: The Current Situation and the Future Prospects," recognised the National Coalition of Revolutionary Forces and the Syrian Opposition as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

The final statement of the summit urged the UN Security Council to take measures to ensure the acceptance of the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations.

Tunisia took part with a delegation headed by former President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki.

Kuwait City (Kuwait) March 25-26, 2014

The summit, which was held under the slogan "Summit of Solidarity for a Better Future," raised the Syrian regime's flag in the conference hall. Syrian opposition National Coalition president made a brief address without sitting on his country' vacant seat.

The final statement stressed the support of the Syrian coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and the need to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis, and stressed that the Palestinian issue is the central issue of the Arab peoples.

Tunisia participated with a delegation headed by former President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki.

Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) March 28-29, 2015

The summit was held under the slogan "Seventy years of joint Arab action", and included in its final statement the agreement on the formation of a joint Arab-military force to meet the challenges and maintain Arab national security.

Tunisia took part with a delegation led by President Beji Caid Essebsi.

Nouakchott (Mauritania), July 25-26, 2016

The declaration of the Summit which was held under the theme of "Summit of Hope," called on the Libyans to complete building the State and to confront terrorism and affirmed its support for the legitimacy of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the ongoing negotiations between Yemenis and renewed the rejection of foreign interference in Arab affairs.

Tunisia took part with a delegation led by Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui.

Dead Sea Region (Jordan) March 28 and 29, 2017

The Arab leaders affirm in their final declaration that they continue to work to re-launch Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations that end the political blockage and follow a specific timetable for ending the conflict based on the two-state solution that guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Eastern Al Quds as its capital.

They also voiced their support for a political solution in Syria and the legitimate government in Yemen, and the achievement of national reconciliation in Libya, in addition to their support for efforts to defeat "terrorism."

Tunisia participated with a delegation led by President Beji Caid Essebsi.

Dhahran (Saudi Arabia) April 15, 2018

In the final declaration of the 29th Arab Summit, which was held under the name: "Al Quds Summit," the Arab leaders affirmed the illegality of Washington's decision to recognise Al Quds as the capital of Israel and vowed to continue to provide the necessary support to the Palestinian cause, stressing the importance of achieving a "comprehensive and lasting peace" with Israel.

Tunisia took part with a delegation headed by President Beji Caid Essebsi.

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