Friday, 20 April, 2018

Syria and Iran to dominate Arab League summit agenda

President Farmajo leaves for Saudi Arabia to attend Arab League Summit Saudi to pressure rival Iran
Patty Aguilar | 16 April, 2018, 10:01

Saudi Arabia will use the summit to seek Arab support to pile the pressure on Iran.

Saudi Arabia pushed for a tough, unified stance against Iran at the annual gathering of the 22-member Arab League.

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia:Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Sunday slammed Iran's interference in the region and lashed out at the United States over Jerusalem as Arab leaders met in the kingdom for their annual summit.

"We extend our support to the Palestinians' right to establish their homeland based on the 1967 lines with the capital city Jerusalem, as stated in the global resolutions and Arab peace initiative", said Al-Jubeir during his speech at foreign ministers' preparatory meeting on Friday.

The leaders called for an worldwide probe while condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters after the summit.

Missiles targeted a research centre, two chemical weapons facilities and an Assad regime command centre.

The fate of occupied Jerusalem is on the summit's agenda, as the United States prepares to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city after declaring it the capital of Israel.

Qatar's emir did not attend the summit, instead dispatching Qatar's Arab League representative to the meeting.

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"We reiterate our rejection of the USA decision on Jerusalem", Salman said adding "East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories".

"We've never seen the Arab world in such bad shape with leadership not able to cope with the challenges facing the Arab world, so much so that most of the points of contention that the Arab leaders don't agree to were not put on the agenda and the ones that they agreed to were put on the agenda", said Al Jazeera's Bishara.

King Salman expressed his strong condemnation to the "Iranian-allied" Houthi militants' attacks on different cities of Saudi Arabia. The summit holds paramount importance in the wake of US President Donald Trump's decision to move US embassy to Jerusalem.

In its closing session, the summit announced Arab Nations' agreement to continue supporting the Palestinian cause, which is the "central issue" of the Arab world, until the independent Palestinian state is established inside the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital.

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

The Arab leaders are also expected to renew their support for the legitimate government of Yemen and back all measures by the internationally recognised government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to restore stability in the country and end the coup by the Iran-backed Houthis.

The Gulf states have donated large amounts of money to help refugees from the country but have not officially offered them asylum.

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