Thursday, 19 April, 2018

Saudi king slams Iran 'interference' as Arab leaders meet

King Salman denounces Iran's 'terrorist' acts Saudi King Salman tweets, welcoming 'meeting of brothers' in Dhahran
Shannon Reynolds | 16 April, 2018, 02:05

The funding announcement came as the king reiterated criticism of President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and shift the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

On Sunday, Jubeir commented on the statement adopted at the summit, saying that the Arab League condemned the use of chemical weapons by Syrian authorities, however the released text of the document does not include the statement.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques reiterates condemnation and rejection of the United States Administration's decision on Jerusalem, lauding the global consensus rejecting the U.S. decision.

In his opening speech to the summit, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz reiterated that East Jerusalem will remain part of the Palestinian territories.

"The Saudis are going to push for a much harsher stance on Iran - not necessarily on the nuclear dossier per se, but on Iranian influence in the Arab countries, particularly Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen", said Karim Bitar of the Paris-based Institute of worldwide and Strategic Affairs.

Permanent Representative of Qatar to the Arab League Ambassador Saif bin Muqaddam Al Buainain heads Qatar's delegation participating in the ordinary Arab League Summit at its 29th session, which begins on Sunday in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - occupied by Israel since 1967 - might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Foreign Ministers pose for a group picture during the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers ahead of the 28th Summit of the Arab League in Riyadh on April 12, 2018.

King Salman also announced a $50 million donation to UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.

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The two regional titans, locked in proxy wars in Syria and in Saudi Arabia's southern neighbour Yemen, back opposing parties in Iraq and Lebanon.

In February, Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have expressed concern over Iran's failure to block supplies of missiles to Yemen's Huthi rebels.

Not at the summit is Qatar, which has been cut off from its Gulf allies over accusations of ties to Iran and support for extremists - claims denied by Doha.

This year's summit was even more important than the usual ones, in such a delicate moment for the war in Syria.

Among the leaders in attendance was Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, who walked the red carpet and was greeted by King Salman.

"We welcome the consensus on the establishment of the Arab Cultural Summit, hoping to contribute to the advancement of Arab-Islamic culture", the King said.

The last time the bloc made a concrete move was in 2011, when it suspended Syria's membership over the Assad regime's role in the war.

Saudi officials have welcomed Malaysia's participation in Gulf Shield 1, the biggest joint military exercise in the Arab region.

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