The Arab League has elected former Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit to head the 22-member body. Abul Gheit was Egypt's top diplomat before dictator Hosni Mubarak was ousted during the Arab Spring.
The 73-year-old diplomat takes over the helm of the Arab League as the region faces multiple conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Libya, as well as mounting tension between some Arab states and Iran.
Abul Gheit served as Egypt's foreign minister from July 2004 to March 2011, a month after Mubarak was ousted in Arab Spring protests.
Since leaving the post as Egypt's top diplomat, Abul Gheit has stepped away from politics and devoted his time to writing his memoirs.
Abul Gheit first entered the foreign ministry in 1965 and served at posts in Italy, Russia and the United States.
Before becoming foreign minister he held the position of Egypt's permanent representative to the United Nations.
As a diplomat he participated in negotiations that led to the 1979 Camp David Accords making peace between Israel and Egypt. He is known to be accepting of the Jewish state and repeatedly called for peace between Israel and Palestine.
He has also taken a strong stance against Iran, warning of the Islamic Republic's attempts to influence the Arab world. Many of the region's fault lines involve proxy wars between Iran and Gulf Arab states.
Abul Gheit replaces Egyptian diplomat Nabil al-Arabi, 80, who declined to head the Arab League for a second term.
cw/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)