Various local media reports indicated that the Algeria summit would be a summit for Arab reunification, that the turnout would be record-breaking and qualitative compared to the challenges surrounding the Arab region, and that attendance would also be standard compared to other Arab summits. This is the first time the Arab League has met since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The body, founded in 1945, represents 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Syria is suspended due to the war.
The statements announced in Arabic and French by the Algerian press service referred to a communiqué from President Abdelmajid Tebboune's office about a phone call between him and Prince Mohammed. In the call, Prince Mohammed "apologised for not being able to participate in the Arab Summit to be held on 1 November in Algiers, in accordance with the recommendations of doctors who advise him not to travel," the statement reads. "For his part, Mr President said he understood the situation and regretted the impediment of Crown Prince His Highness Emir Mohammed Bin Salman, expressing his wishes for his health and well-being."
A report by the state-run Saudi Press Agency stressed that the phone call focused on "aspects of bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries" and possible joint collaboration. With Bin Salman absent, Saudi King Abdelaziz bin Salman ordered Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan to lead the Saudi Arabian delegation to Algiers, according to SPA. The summit is expected to discuss crises in the Arab region and food and energy security issues in light of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.
Algeria had weeks ago completed the process of sending invitations to presidents, kings and Arab leaders, which was sponsored by Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra and Justice Minister Abdel Rashid Tabbi, invitations were also sent to UN officials, African and Arab agencies.
Media reports that six leaders, most of whom are from Gulf states, are likely to be absent from the Arab summit scheduled to be held in Algeria next month indicate that the Gulf presence will be anodyne.
The announcement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's absence from the upcoming Arab summit in Algeria on 1 and 2 November was the sixth of the Arab leaders absent from the summit. To this list of absentees must be added Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah who will not participate in the summit, with Crown Prince Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah acting on his behalf, and UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum will represent the country's President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The sources also reported that Lebanese President Michel Aoun will not participate in the Arab summit because the parliament is holding sessions to elect his successor, as his term ends on 31 October. The five countries did not announce their position on participation in the summit, and Algeria did not issue a communiqué indicating the absence of these leaders. Observers had expected for months that Algeria's escalation against Morocco would disrupt the Gulf's presence at the summit.
Morocco has close relations with Gulf countries, some of which have opened consulates in the Moroccan Sahara region. Algerian media, which are sympathetic to the regime, were quick to play down the importance of announcing the Saudi crown prince's absence by transferring positive reports about the summit.