European Union External Action

League of Arab States (LAS)

08/02/2021 - 16:46
Relations with International Organisations and Fora

The dialogue and cooperation between the European Union and the League of Arab States entered a new phase during the Libya crisis in 2011. High-level dialogue between EU and the LAS was established and conducted regularly since then, concentrating on regional challenges. The first EU-LAS Summit was held in 2019 in Sharm El-Sheikh. The next summit is planned for 2022 in Brussels. EU-LAS Foreign Ministers meetings have taken place in 2012 (Cairo), 2014 (Athens), 2016 (Cairo), 2019 (Brussels) and next is expected in 2021 (Cairo).  HRVP Borrell during his visit to Cairo in September 2020 met with LAS Secretary General Gheit.

The 2014 Athens Declaration established the "EU-LAS Strategic Dialogue", fostering a regular dialogue on political and security issues (including crisis management, early warning and crisis response, Weapons of Mass Destruction and arms control, Counter-Terrorism, migration), which was launched in November 2015 in Brussels.

Cooperation between EU and LAS is well fostered by regular Senior Officials' Meetings (SOM) between the representatives of both organisations.

In 2015 a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the LAS General Secretariat was signed enabling, inter alia, practical cooperation and exchanges of diplomats. The EU regional project "Training and Information Course on Euro-Arab diplomacy" (El Hiwar) facilitates the flow of information and promotes dialogue and cooperation between officials from both organisations.

The European Commission-League of Arab States Liaison Office (ECLASLO) in Malta promotes since 2009 inter-regional dialogue in culture, crisis management, diplomatic training and electoral observation.

Recently security and stability became priority concerns for the EU and the League. A focused cooperation has been fostered to address regional challenges such as the fight against terrorism and regional conflicts, especially in Libya, Syria and Yemen. The Euro-Arab cooperation aims to provide integrated regional responses to these strategic challenges, preventing and counteracting crises in order to build peace in the region.

EU-LAS cooperation on conflict prevention, early warning and crisis response was implemented in the period 2010 to 2014 - through the project "Strengthening crisis response capacities of the League of Arab States"  pursuing the following objectives:

  1. Establishment of the LAS Crisis Response Centre;
  2. Enhancement of relevant technical knowledge and skills of LAS staff;
  3. Holding of institutional dialogues and networking with relevant stakeholders.

LAS Secretariat has been implementing an EU-financed project on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) based on Council Decision (CFSP) 1998/1789 in support of combating the illicit trade in and proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the member states of the League of Arab States.

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