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General Information about the Arab Inter-parliamentary Union

Table of Contents
- Arabic Version
- Establishment and Membership
- Membership List
- Objectives
- Organs
- Presidency - Headquarters and Budget
- Activities on the Arab Level
- Regional and International Activities
- Publications

- Arab-IPU News

Establishment and Membership

The Arab Inter-parliamentary Union (AIPU) is an Arab parliamentary organization composed of parliamentary groups representing Arab Parliaments. It was born in the wake of the October war of 1974, as a result of the atmosphere of Arab solidarity and Arab joint action, which encouraged Arab cooperation through political, professional and other institutions.

The Constituent Conference of the Arab IPU was held in Damascus from 19 to 21 June 1974.

Representatives of the parliaments in the following Arab countries took part in this Conference: Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Palestine, Sudan, Syria and Tunisia.

The conference adopted the Unionís Statutes and Rules of procedure.

Gradually the membership of the AIPU grew by new affiliations. At present, the AIPU comprises the following parliaments:

1. The National Assembly - which consists of The Senate and House of Deputies-The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
2. The Federal National Assembly - The United Arab Emirates
3. The National Assembly - which consists of the House of Representatives and the Shoura Council - The Kingdom of Bahrain
4. The House of Representatives - The Republic of Tunisia.
5. The parliament Ė which consists of the peopleís National Council and the National Assembly - The Democratic Peopleís Republic of Algeria.
6. The Federal Council - The Islamic Federal Republic of Comores.
7. The National Assembly - The Republic of Djibouti.
8. The Shoura Council Ė the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
9. The National Council - The Republic of Sudan
10. The Peopleís Council - The Syrian Arab Republic.
11. The Peopleís Council Ė Somalia
12. The Shoura Council Ė the Sultanate of Oman.
13. The National Council - Palestine.
14. The National Assembly - The Republic of Iraq.
15. The Shoura Council - The state of Qatar.
16. The National Assembly - The State of Kuwait.
17. The House of Representatives - The Republic of Lebanon.
18. The General Peopleís Congress - The Great Socialist People's Arab Libyan Jamahiriyah.
19. The Peopleís Council - The Arab Republic of Egypt.
20. The National Assembly - The Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
21. The Parliament Ė which consists of the House of Representatives and the Council of Counselors - The Kingdom of Morocco.
22. The House of Representatives - The Republic of Yemen.

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Objectives

The statutes specified the AIPU's objectives as follows:

  1. Strengthening contacts and promoting dialogue among Arab parliaments and Arab parliamentarians to the effect of coordinating Arab Parliamentary activities, uniting them all in joint action in various fields, and exchanging legislative experience;
  2. Coordinating the activities of Arab parliaments on various international forums, and with different regional organizations, particularly within the framework of the Inter-Parliamentary Union;
  3. Discussing the common Arab causes , on both the Pan Arab and the international levels, and the adoption of resolutions and recommendations in this connection;
  4. Work for enhancing the democratic concepts and values in the Arab countries;
  5. Work for the coordination and unification of legislation in the Arab Countries;
  6. Consolidating cooperation among peoples of the world for the establishment of peace based on justice.

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Organs
  • The Conference: it is composed of delegations representing the member groups (5-10) deputies for each. The Conference meets once every two years and is presided by the speaker of the host parliament, The Conference deals with common pan-Arab issues, adopts and amends the Unionís statutes.
  • The Council:It is composed of two members representing each member group. The Council normally holds one session a year. It takes all measures entitled to realize the Unionís objectives:( adopts the budget, appoints the secretary General, fixes the agenda of the Conference, accept new affiliations...etc .
  • The General Secretariat: It is the Unionís Executive Organ , and is headed by the Secretary General. It facilitates contacts between the member groups and the Union, prepares the subjects to be discussed by the Union's Councils and Conferences, runs administrative and financial questions ...etc.

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Presidency - Headquarters and Budget

The Presidency : The Union is alternately headed by the Speakers of the Arab National groups according to alphabetical order. The Unionís President supperintends the whole work of the union.

The Headquarters: The permanent headquarters of the union is in Damascus, capital of the Syrian Arab Republic.

The Budget: The Union has an independent budget, the funds of which consist of the contributions paid by member groups as well as of the sums and aids offered by other Arab organizations, and accepted by the president.

The Unionís Councils and Conferences:
Since its foundation the AIPU's Council held 49 ordinary and emergency sessions, the last of which was held in Aqaba (Jordan) in February 2007. The AIPU also held tewlve Conferences, the last of which was held at the Dead Sea ( Jordan ) in 2006 .

The Councilís sessions and the Conferences dealt with issues connected wit the achievement of the AIPU's political, legislative and other objectives. The Resolutions and recommendations adopted and the plans which were drawn up have guaranteed the continuation of the Unionís activities in the different fields.


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Activities on the Arab Level

1- Expanding the Union membership:
The AIPU was always keen to comprise all Parliaments and Shoura Councils in the Arab Homeland regardless of their different forms of representation, and it succeeded.

2- Strengthening Arab Solidarity: This issue has always been one of the preoccupations of Arab parliamentarians. Issuing from the critical circumstances of the Arab situation, and in the light of the current international developments, the importance of Arab solidarity comes into light as an effective weapon in facing aggression, occupation and conspiring.

The AIPUís Councils and Conferences laid the basis on which Arab solidarity should be built, and drew up concrete plans for the contribution of Arab parliamentarians in realizing and strengthening this solidarity.

3- Relations With The Arab League And Other Arab Organizations:
* The AIPU maintains an ever developing relation with the League of Arab States. This relation aims at strengthening cooperation between the two Arab organizations in the fields of common Arab work, and coordinating their activities with other regional and international organizations.

This relation was crowned by the signing of an Agreement of Cooperation and Coordination to facilitate the realization of their tasks.

* The AIPU also maintains good relations with other Arab organizations such as : Union of Arab Journalists - Union of Arab Lawyers - Union of Arab Jurists - General Union of Arab Writers - The International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions ... etc.

Symposiums And Forums
* The Arab IPU undertakes the organization of parliamentary symposiums and forums to discuss important legislative and parliamentary issues. The following are some of the issues discussed:

  • (Handicapped legislations in the Arab world) 2007.
  • (Development and Education in the Arab Countries) 2007.
  • (Parliaments statutes: reality and reform chalanges in the Arab World) 2007.
  • (Israeli confiscation of Arab waters) 2006.
  • (Handicapped legislations) 2005
  • (Promoting arab parliaments capacity on sustainable development - water management) 2005.
  • (Regional conference for Arab Parliamentarians on human international law) 2005.
  • (Regional conference on parliamentarians capacity) 2005.
  • (Role of women parliamentarians in the legislation reform) 2005.
  • (Parliament, budget and gender) 2004
  • (Role of parliamentarians in the negociations and relations with world trade organisation) 2004.
  • (Developing arabic legislation in the arab parliaments) 2003.
  • (Role of Arab Women in Backing Main Arab Issues) 2001.
  • (Human Rights and Rights of the Handicapped in the Arab Countries).
  • (Al.Qods: Core of the Arab-Israeli Conflict ) 2000.
  • (The Unified Arab Parliament) 1999.
  • (Al.Qods) 1998.
  • (Water and its strategic Role in the Arab Homeland) 1997.
  • (Arab Economic Complementarity and Its Relation with Arab Food Security) 1989.
  • (The Unified Arab Parliament: Fundamentals and Means of Realization) 1986.
  • (The Unified Arab Parliament: Fundamentals and Means of Realization) 1983.
  • (Arab Parliamentary Experience in the light of the World Contemporary Experiences) 1981.


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Regional and International Activities

Regional and International activities constitute one of the most important spheres of the AIPUís work. Everything is done to recruit all possibilities in order to put forward the Arab cause on the regional and the international fora, to coordinate the stands of Arab parliamentary delegations vis-a-vis the different issues discussed by these fora, to maintain close contacts with different parliamentarians, to set up liaisons of friendship and cooperation between Arab Parliamentarians and their colleages all over the world.

These activities cover the following main fields:
  1. Activities within The Inter-Parliamentary Union

    The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is an old international parliamentary organization whose history goes back to 1889. The IPU comprises now more than 133 Parliamentary groups from the five continents, in addition to other Parliamentary and non-Parliamentary organizations having the status of observer or associate members.

    Since its foundation in 1974, the Arab IPU was keen to effectively participate in the activities of the IPU, especially after acquiring the status of an observer at the IPUís 61st Conference held in Tokyo in 1974.

    The activity of the Arab IPU in the Inter-Parliamentary Union can mainly be seen through:
    - The acceptance of the Palestine National Council as an observer member in the IPU at the Colombo Council in 1975;
    - The inclusion of the Palestinian issue and the Middle East conflict in the agenda of the IPU conferences, and the success in adopting resolutions condemning the Israeli policies based on occupation, settlement and persecution. Those resolutions also endorsed the struggle waged by the Palestinian people for their national and inalienable rights.
    - The establishment of relations with a large number of parliamentarians which led to an increase in the numbers of the parliamentarians supporting the just Arab cause.
    - At the organizational level, the Arab delegations succeeded in assuming high-leveled posts in the IPU bodies: The Unionís presidency, Executive Committee membership, chairmanship of studying committees ...etc.
    - The introduction of Arabic as a working language in the IPU conferences since April 1993.

  2. The Dialogue Activities

    • Afro-Arab Parliamentary Dialogue

      Based on the fact that the African and the Arab countries are linked by multi-sided relations ( geographical, historical political, economic, cultural ...etc), the Arab IPUís Conferences and Councils stressed that dialogue with African Parliaments should be given priority among the Unionís activities on the regional levels.

      The contacts between the AIPU and the African Parliamentary Union (APU) which began in 1977 resulted in convening the first meeting of the Afro-Arab Parliamentary Dialogue in Tunis ( March, 1984). Representatives of 27 Arab and African parliaments participated in that meeting which adopted several resolutions stressing the necessity to strengthen political, economic and cultural relations between Arab and African countries. It also adopted important organizational resolutions and recommendations among which were:
      - The necessity to hold the meeting of the Afro-Arab Parliamentary Dialogue periodically once every two years;
      - The necessity to set up an organizational frame for that dialogue;
      - The setting up of a Follow up Committee which was vested with the implementation of the adopted resolutions. Eleven Conferences have so far been held in the framework of this Dialogue, the last of which was the Conference held in Damascus (Syria) in July 2007.

    • The Euro-Arab Parliamentary Dialogue

      Euro-Arab Parliamentary Dialogue began in 1974, and was parallel to the Euro-Arab governmental Dialogue which also started in 1974, in view of the conviction that there is mutual interests in the establishing and the strengthening of an overall cooperation between the Arab and the West European Countries.

      This Dialogue is carried out through the following channels:
      - The parliamentary Association For Euro-Arab Cooperation, which was founded in 1974, and whose membership has risen to about 650 parliamentarians from the countries of the European Union and the Council of Europe.
      - An annual meeting of Euro-Arab Parliamentary Dialogue is held alternately in Arab and European capitals.
      - The European Parliament (EP) which represents a unique experience of the collective parliamentary work beyond the national borders. The AIPU succeeded in establishing good relations with the EP, in the frame of which several enlarged meetings were held.
      - The AIPU also maintains relations with the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

      Euro-Arab Parliamentary meetings usually deal with political, economic and cultural issues, which help strengthen the cooperation between Arab and European countries.
    • Dialogue Relations With Other Parliaments


      The AIPU also maintains good relations with the Russian Parliament and with other parliaments in Eastern Europe. It also has relations with the Latin American Parliament and the Asian Inter-Parliamentary organization (AIPO).

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Publications

The Arab AIPU does a lot of work in the field of publication and information. The General Secretariat issues the following periodicals.

  • The Arab Parliament A Quarterly Review which covers the different activities of the Union and its member parliaments. It publishes articles and studies about political, economic, social and parliamentary issues connected with the Unionsíscope of interest.
  • Information Bulletins which give information about the different international and regional parliamentary organizations.
In addition to the above-mentioned periodicals the AIPU also issues unperiodical publications which include books and studies about different political, legislative and parliamentary issues.

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