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Opinion and Editorial

Arab world should get together to fight Covid-19

Ahmed Abul Gheit
Filed on March 23, 2020 | Last updated on March 23, 2020 at 07.40 pm

The Arab leaders had set a precedent with this. The League was born even before the creation of the United Nations.

体育竞彩网March 22 was the diamond anniversary of the League of Arab States. Seventy-five years ago the founding generation of wise Arab leaders had taken a seminal step to develop an institutional framework for cooperation among Arab countries. This platform has long been based on the unity of feeling and conscience, as well as language, history and a shared culture.

The Arab leaders had set a precedent with this. The League was born even before the creation of the United Nations.

体育竞彩网It has been a long journey full of challenges. Over the last 75 years, the Arabs defeated colonialism and became free nations, allowed people to control their own destinies. They spoke to the world in a collective voice. They stood up for themselves, their values and causes.

体育竞彩网It has been 75 years and now is the time for the Arab world to revive its pledge of working together. The Arab world is beset with problems. It cannot be hidden. The conflicts have created wounds that will take time to heal.

And we are now confronted with the most serious challenge of the time - the coronavirus pandemic that has struck most countries with varying degrees of intensity. The most dangerous aspect of this pandemic is its impact on the social fabric. Its consequences may outweigh the repercussions of wars and conflicts. This can lead to total disruption, as we are seeing in some countries. It is affecting all aspects of our lives: economic, social, security, and political.

体育竞彩网The strategies put up for confrontation have a high human and economic cost, and the best options are bitter.

Despite the measures required to confront the spread of the epidemic, from social distancing to quarantine and self-isolation, the most powerful weapon remains human solidarity and compassion, and the understanding that such an enemy can only be defeated by crushing it everywhere.

The spirit of societal belonging and the responsibility towards it is the lifeline of all societies, including our Arab world, whose people are known for their mutual support in adversity and pain. Some of our Arab countries suffer from burning crises. Conflicts in Syria and Yemen have had tremendous human costs.

Many have agreed that Syria, in particular, faces the most serious refugee crisis since World War II, with about half of the population left between displacement and emigration. Since the clashes flared in Idlib in December, nearly a million Syrians have been displaced.

体育竞彩网These dangerous humanitarian situations are a symptom of the original disease, which is the persistence of conflicts. It is time to silence the cannons, through which the people of one homeland kill each other. The global situation against the coronavirus pandemic reflects the futility of the continuation of such conflicts.

I call on all parties, in the name of mercy and humanitarian responsibility, to stop the fighting. The crisis facing the world will put pressure on all available resources, and confronting the pandemic should be the top priority of aid programmes.

If we do not help ourselves, we should not blame others if they fail to extend a helping hand.

It has become clear that facing the pandemic requires the greatest solidarity and trust between governments and the public.

In the Arab region, some countries suffer from protracted political crises, especially in Iraq and Lebanon. Arab people are waiting for their leaders and politicians to rise up to the challenges, to rise above political disputes and to agree on a common word. This is because facing a test of such a severity, like the coronavirus pandemic, necessitates essentially a degree of trust between governments and their people. Without this confidence, measures taken by the authorities would lack the required effectiveness.

Perhaps this pandemic is a new opportunity for Arab countries to consolidate their bonds and deepen coordination in all fields, because the repercussions of the coronavirus will not be limited to the health sector, but have long-lasting economic and social effects, which requires Arab institutions to coordinate efforts, exchange experiences and share burdens.

The Arab League with its specialised institutions, councils and organisations, remains the best mechanism for achieving our goals, whether against the global pandemic or others. Our role remains to continue the march, and to ensure that our institution remains immune to demolition and to the challenges of fragmentation.

Asharq Al Awsat

Ahmed Abul Gheit is the Secretary General of the Arab League

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