ABU DHABI, 12th December, 2016 (WAM) — The Annual Arab Thought Foundation Conference, FIKR 15, started on Monday at Saint Regis Resort on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, under the patronage of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The event, which coincides with the 35th anniversary of the establishment of Gulf Cooperation Council for Arab States (GCC) and the 45th UAE National Day anniversary, is held under the theme “Arab Integration: GCC and the UAE.”

Organised by the Foundation in conjunction with the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States, the opening session was attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court.

In his inaugural speech, Dr. Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Secretary-General of the GCC, said, “As our Arab world is ravaged by hardships, we are in bad need to activate the role of the League of Arab States, and develop its mechanisms so that it carries out its responsibilities to achieve aspirations.”

He added that the secretariat opened its doors for Arab intellectuals, thinkers and organisations to hold a series of preparatory workshops and conferences.

On behalf of the Arab Thought Foundation, Al Zayani congratulated Ahmed Aboul Ghait, the new Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.

Aboul Ghait commended the UAE’s experience as a successful Arab experience in terms of integration and strengthening of the joint Arab action. He also praised the successful experience of the GCC, which backs the Arab integration and the joint Arab action institutions.

“The unfolding developments and crises in the Arab world necessitate reconsidering how best to mobilise efforts to defend the existence of the national state, and address the needs and aspirations of the Arab peoples amid growing threats within the Arab countries and from surroundings,” he added.

Aboul Ghait emphasised the centrality of Arab integration as a real way to keep the Arab bloc intact. “This fact had been cherished by the founding fathers of the League of Arab States, based on the co-ordination among the independent Arab states, to achieve regional integration and strengthen sovereignty and security,” he said.

He added that the joint Arab action institutions were not disabled, as some might think. “But they require a proper investigation, with a view to put priorities in order at these institutions through three main goals – a renewed sense of Arabism, tackling of Arab crises and achieving intellectual renaissance,” he said.