Arab summit opens in Saudi Arabia

Hannah Rogers
April 16, 2018

In his opening speech at the Arab League summit, Salman also criticised the controversial United States decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem but avoided any mention of Syria, just 24 hours after Western strikes against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The meeting this year took place after the U.S., Britain and France launched dozens of strikes early Saturday at sites they said were linked to Syria's chemical weapons program.

The main focus of King Salman's opening speech was Iran, which he criticised for "terrorist acts" and "blatant interference" in regional affairs, particularly the conflict in Yemen.

"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.

King Salman, who travels rarely because of his declining health, said: "We reiterate our rejection of the United States decision on Jerusalem".

They will also reiterate their commitment to peace that leads to the creation of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in line with the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which offers Israel normal ties with the Arabs in return for withdrawal from territories it occupied in 1967.

His words come just weeks after his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Donald Trump.

Google Launches New Gmail Design Soon
This will likely make Gmail easier to load and use, and will also bring new features to the popular open email platform. As of now, there is no information about this feature being available to non-Gmail users.

The remark suggested increasing rapprochement with Israel, which like Riyadh, sees Tehran as its arch rival.

The two regional titans back opposing sides in a range of hotspots across the Middle East, including Lebanon and Syria and in Saudi Arabia's southern neighbor Yemen.

The King welcomed the statement issued by the Security Council, which strongly condemned the launching of Iran-made ballistic missiles by the Houthi militia on Saudi cities.

Tensions have eased slightly in recent months but Qatar still only sent its representative to the Arab League to the Dhahran summit.

Summits of the Arab League, established in 1945, rarely result in action.

Iran has always been a supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and backs Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement, whose fighters are deployed in Syria alongside regime forces.

There are 22 members of the Arab League but Syria's membership has been suspended since 2011 because of the civil war.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER