The tweets came in response to a leaked document published by the Egyptian newspaper, “Youm Al-Sabea,” revealing calls for Saudi Arabia to reconsider the salaries of workers at the League of States and to undertake fundamental reforms in it.
Later, Kattan deleted his twenty tweets, without explaining the reason for this, while the League of Arab States granted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the “Shield of Arab Development Action”, which dedicates him to honor the leading and pioneering personalities.
The Secretary-General of the League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said that Mohammed bin Salman “is a wise man who works for the sake of his nation.”
However, this does not mean that the dispute has ended, with the disappearance of its impact from the Twitter platform.
‘Organization without teeth’
According to the document, which appears to be part of a wider Saudi communication with the Arab League, the Saudi delegation to the university called for three basic points that were limited to the material side.
The first requirement is “that the contract be limited to the general conditions and the abolition of all provisions related to bonuses, promotions, and end-of-service gratuities because they contradict the temporary nature of the contract,” while the second requirement states that “the number of contractors at the university be reduced within four years, and that each member state obtains a percentage. Of jobs according to the percentage of their contribution to the budget (…), setting a maximum and minimum salary ceiling and preparing a list for them. ”
As for the third requirement, it stipulates “the termination of all contracts funded by the accounts of the specialized ministerial councils, and not to contract with these accounts in the future, and to be satisfied with the employees of the specialized departments in the General Secretariat (…)”.
For his part, Kattan, a former Saudi ambassador to Cairo and a former Saudi permanent representative to the League of Arab States, said that he did not want to talk about the Arab League had it not been for the leak of the official memorandum submitted by Saudi Arabia to the League by Al-Youm Al-Sabea newspaper.
Kattan described the Arab League as an “organization without fangs,” adding that it needs to become “strong and prestigious” and try to work to achieve this goal, regardless of the money it costs.
Likewise, Minister Kattan called for “amending the charter that was drawn up in 1945 and has not been amended since then (…), and appointing a deputy secretary-general, which is rejected by the current Secretary-General for unreasonable reasons,” in addition to “canceling the award decision for His Excellency the Secretary-General,” We have allocated to him once 5 million dollars, then 2 million dollars, in addition to the statutory reward, which is estimated at 300 thousand dollars for every 5 years. ”
In Kattan’s tweets, he also said: “Who would believe that during the past 15 years we have depleted more than a billion and a half billion dollars on the university’s budget and its organizations,” referring to the support Saudi Arabia provides to the Arab League, in addition to “reconsidering the employee salary structure,” and demands. Others are the same that came in the leaked document.
Al-Hurra contacted Minister Ahmed Qattan, but he refused to comment.
The advisor at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Dr. Amr Al-Shobaki, believes that “the principle gives Saudi Arabia and any other country the right to demand internal reforms in the Arab League,” adding: “But Saudi claims may also carry a polite message that represents a reservation on the reappointment of Ahmed Aboul Gheit as secretary. Years of university for a new session. ”
He added, “Given the strong strategic relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the reservation formula may have come in this way, especially since the renewal of the Secretary-General came unanimously, and thus the decision was approved by Saudi Arabia.”
Al-Shobaki told Al-Hurra that the idea of reforming the Arab League was previously discussed, and former Secretary General Amr Moussa had adopted this idea and accomplished part of the reform of this institution.
He added, “The League of Arab States needs institutional reform in which all countries participate (…). There must be a real vision for a reform path that resembles a program of action, including the issue of rationalizing spending.”
The claims made by the former representative of Saudi Arabia to the Arab League, Ahmed Kattan, in his deleted tweets, dominated the reforms related to the financial aspect.
But Al-Shobaki believes that “the tweets, although they are issued by an official close to the decision-making circles in Saudi Arabia, are not treated as official data,” stressing the importance of looking at the essence of the issue, which is to achieve an “integrated vision for the reform of the Arab League.”
However, the Egyptian political analyst did not rule out that Riyadh’s demands aimed at reducing the Kingdom’s support for the Arab League, explaining that “Saudi Arabia is a key pillar and influential country in the Arab League, and it has contributed to ideas that go beyond materialism.”
He continued, “The comprehensive reform vision must be greater than the material part. Even if Saudi Arabia reduces its financial support, this reduction must come within the framework of a vision for reform.”
Al-Shobaki said that the Arab League is in a situation in which it suffers from many problems, adding that its reform must be based on initiative and go beyond talking about any crack in this ancient institution.
The official Arab League website, which was established in 1945, does not mention the League’s budget, its sources of funding, or even the contributions of each country to it.
Since the establishment of the Arab League in the 1940s, Egypt has dominated the position of Secretary-General appointed by voting by member states, except for the period in which the League’s headquarters were moved from Cairo to Tunis following Egypt’s signing of a peace agreement with Israel.
“Corruption smells bad”
On the other hand, the Saudi writer, Dr. Wafa Al-Rasheed, described a leaked report by the newspaper “Al-Youm Al-Sabea” on the Arab League as “corruption that smelled of it.”
In its column in the Saudi Al-Watan newspaper, titled “A Corruption Commission wanted for the League of Arab States,” Al-Rasheed touched on the salaries of university employees, which she says amount to $ 14,000 (more than 200,000 Egyptian pounds) in a “state (…) salary The president of the republic does not exceed 45,000 thousand pounds per month. ”
She pointed out that the Arab League’s missions abroad “do not play any remarkable role that serves the causes of the Arab citizen and they deplete two-thirds of the university’s budget.”
In turn, the Saudi researcher and political analyst, Mubarak Al-Ati, renewed the demands that Minister Kattan made in his deleted tweets after describing the university as an “organization without teeth,” which is the same description that Kattan made.
Al-Aati told Al-Hurra that “Saudi Arabia is one of the seven founding countries of the Arab League eight decades ago, based on its belief in the importance of supporting the unity of the Arab class in facing challenges and changes (…) and it is one of the largest countries that have supported and financed the League’s budgets since its establishment until today. “.
He added that his country “still believes in its role, a house that brings together Arabs and unifies joint Arab action, but comparing the League with its counterparts from organizations touches and realizes that this organization has not progressed and has not changed.”
Al-Aati cited the charter of the League of Arab States, which was approved in 1945 and which “is still in force today without change despite the change in the world and its growing issues,” adding: “Therefore, Saudi Arabia continues its assurances and demands to develop the Arab House to be compatible with the challenges and threats that have not been cut off from the Arab lands. It is already getting more dangerous. ”
He said, “The demand to develop the university goes beyond the amendment of the charter drawn up in 1945 to the necessity to appoint a deputy secretary-general, which was previously there,” in addition to “reviewing the bylaws and statutes of the staff, given that they were approved in the seventies and do not correspond to the current situation.”
The Saudi analyst pointed out that the resources of the Arab League “may exceed the budget of the African Union, which has greatly exceeded it in its performance, activity and effectiveness,” noting the importance of reviewing the constitution of the organization, its system, objectives and committees in line with the requirements of the stage and increasing its activities, according to Al-Aati.
Al-Aati also considers the importance of “canceling the bonus for His Excellency the Secretary-General, reviewing the salary structure for employees, conducting an evaluation of the performance of Arab organizations and considering their compatibility with the requirements of joint Arab work,” as well as “limiting the work period of heads of missions to 4 years, and terminating services from Over the age of 65 to give others the opportunity to assume these positions. ”