Report: Egypt's Aboul Gheit reappointed Arab League chief

CAIRO (AP) — Arab foreign ministers on Wednesday reappointed veteran Egyptian diplomat as the secretary general of the Cairo-based Arab League, Egypt’s state-run news agency reported.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, a former ambassador to the United Nations and Egypt’s last foreign minister under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, won the backing of the Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo, MENA’s report said.

In January, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi announced that Cairo would nominate Aboul Gheit for a second, five-year term as the chief of the 22-member bloc.

He was the only nominee for the post, as it is a long-held protocol that Egypt as host of the Arab League traditionally nominates the league chief. He was first appointed in 2016 as the secretary general of the Arab League.

The only time a non-Egyptian was appointed to the post was in 1979, after Egypt’s membership was suspended following its peace treaty with Israel. The membership was restored in 1989, with the headquarters of the Arab League returning to Cairo and a new Egyptian secretary general appointed in 1990.

Aboul Gheit, 78, has been known to be a pragmatic diplomat with strong enmity for political Islam factions like the Muslim Brotherhood.

He has been vocal against Turkey and Iran, two regional powers with major influences in the Arab world. He has also been critical to the 2011 uprising that engulfed the region and led to the overthrow of four longtime autocratic rulers but also sparked three civil wars.