The Arab League’s secretary-general
The Arab League’s secretary-general, Amr Moussa, might not be popular with Israel and the United States, but he enjoys a strong popularity across the Arab world.
Who is Amr Moussa?
Amr Moussa was born in Cairo on October 3, 1936 and studied law in Cairo University.
The Charismatic diplomat started his career in the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in 1958. He served as Egypt’s ambassador to India in 1967 and was appointed as a permanent representative to the United Nations in 1990.
From 1991 until his appointment as the Arab League’s secretary-general in May 2001, he served as Egypt’s foreign minister.
The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs – conducted by former U.S. diplomats – described Moussa, 65, as "no ordinary Egyptian Government official". It said that he is the only official that Egyptians would elect as president if they had the opportunity.
The Time magazine also described Moussa as "perhaps the most adored public servant in the Arab world".
Amr Moussa's Strong position
Moussa's popularity comes from his sharp criticism of U.S. support for Israel and he has always been a tough critic of Israel's aggression against the Palestinians during his 10-year post as Egypt's foreign minister. He made his opinions public during speeches, interviews - and rows with foreign envoys.
Amr Moussa is also considered one of the main designers of the Arabs’ policy towards Israel. He has always offered advices to the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat, as Cairo is considered the first regional mediator in the peace process.
When he was a foreign minister, he refused to shake hands with his Israeli counterpart Ariel Sharon during a visit to Tel Aviv in January 1999. He later told reporters that he believes that Sharon does not like shaking hands because he refuses to shake hands with Yasser Arafat.
Amr Moussa's Top position
Moussa’s appointment to the top position in the Arab League was unanimously approved by all member states. Arab diplomats expect Amr Moussa to reach settlements on Arabs’s disputes, particularly between Iraq and Kuwait or the western Sahara conflict between Morocco and Algeria.
He said that he plans to improve the activities of the League and turn it into a strong voice of unified Arab opinion. He hopes to eliminate lifetime bureaucracies and revitalize the 800-strong staff. He also said that his current objectives include developing Arab economies and strengthening relations with Arab-Americans.
However, the Palestinian conflict is at the top of his agenda. He has previously said that he suspects that the Israeli policies towards the Palestinians might have contributed to the 11 September attacks on the U.S.
"People will not calm down unless and until the Palestinian question is fairly resolved," a Time interview cited him as saying.