Despite people expressing aspirations for better living conditions after the Arab Spring, the Middle East and North Africa region continues to slowly progress, Arab League’s Secretary General, Nabil Al-Araby, said Saturday at the World Economic Forum currently being held in Jordan.
However, as people continue to push for the fruits of the revolutions they led, there is no turning back, WEF’s website reported Araby as saying.
“People’s demands for greater dignity, better services and increased prosperity have not yet been met, but the game has changed and there will be no U-turns as a new generation steps forward and takes the lead.”
Meanwhile, John McCain, the Republican senator for the U.S. state of Arizona, said revolutions are always messy.
“When the changes came we applauded them and admired their use of technology, but now the exuberance of the early days has been toned down as we see there is a lot of hard work to do before things will improve for ordinary people,” McCain added.
The two-year Syrian conflict, which started as a protest against President Bashar Al-Assad but morphed into a civil war that killed at least 80,000 people, was a priority during discussions in WEF.
Senator McCain, known for his stance to militarily aid the Syrian rebels, repeated his call for increased support, including heavy weapons for moderate groups in the Syrian opposition. “Stop the fighting is a great phrase, but unless we change the situation on the battlefield, nothing will happen.”
Amr Moussa, former Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said the priority is for the U.N. Security Council to call a ceasefire in Syria.
“Prospects are much better now that Russia and the U.S. are talking,” Moussa said.
Russia and the United States have invited Syrians both the government and the opposition to sit on the negotiation table in a peace conference that could convene in the next few weeks.
However, Robert Menendez, a Democrat Senator from New Jersey, showed pessimism over the U.S.-Russia-led talks when he criticized the dynamics of the U.N. Security Council. “There is no great option. Unless the positions of key members change, the Council is paralyzed,” he said.
More than 900 participants from over 50 countries are taking part in WEF on the Middle East and North Africa. The three-day meeting, convening under the theme Advancing Conditions for Growth and Resilience, will focus on shaping the region’s economic, social and governance systems of the future.