Sunday, 18 August, 2019

Iran rejects 'baseless' Arab summit accusations: state media

Qatar PM to attend Gulf summit in Saudi Arabia: media Qatar plane lands in Jeddah airport for the first time since Gulf crisis - Region - World
Patty Aguilar | 31 May, 2019, 13:29

Addressing Arab and Muslim leaders earlier, King Salman pressed the global community to "use all means to stop Iran from interfering in other countries' affairs".

Upon their arrival at the airport in Saudi Arabia, leaders were shown Yemeni rebel military items, such as a destroyed drone, missiles and mortar shells used in the conflict with the Saudis. The leaders were given a brief explanation of the weapons on display by Col.

Riyadh accused Tehran of ordering the drone strikes, which were claimed by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group.

Qatar has accepted Saudi Arabia's invitation to attend an emergency Arab summit, Foreign ministry spokeswoman Lolwah al-Khater tweeted on Wednesday that Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser al-Thani will attend the summit.The GCC summit on Thursday will be the third major meeting of the bloc since Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar over its support for extremism and close ties to Iran.

Al-Assaf added: "We should confront it with all means of force and firmness".

Still, there were visible signs of tension and disagreement among the Arab officials gathered at the meetings, which began just before midnight on Thursday and ran into the early hours of Friday due to Ramadan, which practices include day-long fasts and extended evening prayers.

The statement released at the end of the summits echoed unfounded claims against Iran and called for collective efforts to thwart the Islamic Republic's influence in the region.

"There is no doubt in anybody's mind in Washington who is responsible for this and I think it's important that the leadership in Iran know that we know", Bolton said of the operation against four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers.

The summits coincide with the last few days of the Muslim fasting month of Ramzan, when Makkah throngs with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.

He said the meetings of Sunni Muslim Gulf leaders and Arab leaders at midnight in Mecca would discuss Shi'ite Iran's "interference" in Arab affairs. The GCC meeting will be immediately followed with an emergency summit of the 22-nation Arab League, minus Syria whose membership remains suspended.

"These were efforts by the Iranians to raise the price of crude oil throughout the world", he said.

"We are stating our commitment to the decisions taken at previous Arab summits in relation to the Palestinian issue", the Arab states said in a final communique of their emergency summit in Mecca. It will bring together leaders from the 57-nation OIC, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia.

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The White House is counting on Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies to form a united front to contain Iran.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the summit that this month's attacks provided an impetus to renew discussions on joint Arab defence mechanisms.

It marks the first global conference for Mr. Burhan since the ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir from power in April.

US national security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday that evidence of Iran being behind the tanker attacks would be presented to the U.N. Security Council as early as next week.

'The point is to make it very clear to Iran and its surrogates that these kinds of action risk a very strong response from the United States, ' Bolton threatened, without elaborating. During a visit to Tokyo this week, Trump appeared to welcome negotiations with Iran.

"We're not looking for regime change".

The visit comes as tightening U.S. sanctions raises tension in the Gulf a year after President Donald Trump pulled the USA out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

It's unclear how many of those troops would be sent to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi King Salman invited Qatar's ruler, whose country is home to the largest USA military base in the region, to the summits.

Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida launched the September 11 attacks, in part over America's military presence in the kingdom.

Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an Emirati political commentator in Dubai, suggested that Saudi Arabia and its allies aren't necessarily looking for a game-changer in the confrontation with Iran.

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