Abu Dhabi: Al Chadli Al Qulaibi, one of the most prominent political and cultural faces in Tunisia’s modern history, and the only Secretary-General of the Arab League from outside Egypt, on Wednesday died, aged 94.
Al Qulaibi, who died at his residence in the Carthage suburb of Tunis, was Secretary-General of the league for about 10 years, described as a “critical period” of the history of joint Arab action, when the league’s headquarters moved from Cairo to Tunisia in 1979 after Egypt signed the peace treaty with Israel.
Ahmad Abul-Gheit, the Arab league’s chief , mourned Al Qalibi, offered his condolences to the family of the deceased and to the Tunisian people, stressing that the Arab nation lost a loyal Arab politician, who played an important role in an exceptional stage in the contemporary history of the Arab League, as well as undertaking major political tasks in his country, Tunisia.
Abul-Gheit said that Al Qulaibi managed to maintain the continuity of the league’s work in light of the difficult circumstances that faced joint Arab action during his tenure.
Former Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, said Al Qalibi handed the league - after its return to Cairo - in a reasonable situation structurally, after playing a large and important role in preserving the entity, at a turbulent time for the region.
The prominent Tunisian politician was known for his Arab and nationalist stances, and his constant desire for joint Arab action.
Egyptian political thinker Dr. Mustafa Al Faqi said Al Qalibi contributed clearly to pushing Tunisian politics towards the Arab orientation, because of his strong nationalist ideas, especially in the period of the league’s relocation, and Tunisia’s hosting of the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
Al Qulaibi is the 4th Secretary-General of the Arab League after Abdel Rahman Azzam, Abdel Khaleq Hassouna, and Mahmoud Riad, and was followed by Ahmad Esmat Abdel-Majid, Amr Moussa, Nabeel Al Arabi, and the current Secretary Ahmad Abul Gheit, all from Egypt.
Al Qalibi, who was born on September 6, 1925, belongs to a family linked to the “National Movement”, which was led by former President Habib Bourguiba. In 1964, he was elected a member of the Central Committee of the Free Constitutional Party of Tunisia. He was appointed a member of the Political Bureau of the same party in July 1968 until September 1979, and he was also elected a member of the Tunisian Parliament.
Al Qulaibi was well-known within the literary and political circles for his frank and liberal opinions regarding the problems that confronted Arab society, and he had prominent contributions on a number of contentious issues, such as the problem of the relationship between Arabism and Islam, the issue of Arab women, oil issues, the new global economic order, and Arab –African-European dialogue.
On the cultural level, Al Qalibi, who holds a degree in Arabic language and literature, was one of the most prominent cultural voices in Tunisia, and for most Tunisians he represented a cultural icon, and he was known as the “maker of the first institutions of the culture and media sectors” since Tunisia’s independence from France in 1956.