Arab leaders highlight nations' sovereignty, denounce regional intervention

Abdel Fattah El Sisi

The 29th Arab League summit kicks off in the Saudi city of Dhahran on Sunday amid several challenges facing the Arab world, mainly in Syria, Yemen and Palestine, in addition to Iranian and Turkish interference.

In the same way, he added, Iran expects regional countries not to make false allegations, show mutual respect, and not interfere in each other's affairs.

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.

"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.

Despite being a stalwart ally of the United States, the ruler also criticised US President Donald Trump's controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and shift the US embassy there.

Heads of state and top officials from 21 Arab states will attend the summit excluding Syria that was suspended from the league in 2011 over Syrian regime's crackdown on protesters after peaceful protests in the southern part of the country.

The image has slowly gained traction online and on social media by Arab users who said the image showed solidarity among Arab leadership.

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

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Asharq Al-Awsat received Friday a copy of the draft closing statement and draft resolutions agreed on by Arab foreign ministers following their preparatory meetings held last Thursday in Saudi Arabia ahead of the summit.

"We renew our strong condemnation of Iran's terrorist acts in the Arab region and reject its blatant interference in the affairs of Arab countries", King Salman said.

During the summit, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz criticized Tehran's influence on Arab countries, claiming that it violated the principles of worldwide law.

"The Palestinian cause has been and will always be our main cause until the Palestinians regain their rights", he said.

Iran is backing Houthi rebels that Riyadh opposes in Yemen and on Sunday Salman praised "the UN Security Council's statement denouncing the Iranian-made ballistic missile fire 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.

The Arab League was founded in 1945 to protect newly-won independence throughout the region.

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