Saturday, 21 April, 2018

Iran Slams Arab League Summit's Final Statement

Abdel Fattah El Sisi Snap shot from Youtube as Egyptian President arrives to Saudi Arabia ahead of Arab Summit
Ellis Copeland | 16 April, 2018, 10:09

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters that the Arab leaders strongly condemn the use of chemical weapons and are demanding an independent worldwide probe to clarify who is responsible.

The summit begins 24 hours after the United States, France and Britain launched controversial air strikes in war-torn Syria in response to a reported regime chemical attack on the decimated rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta last week.

"We demand an independent worldwide investigation to guarantee the application of global law against anyone proven to have used chemical weapons", said a final statement issued by the Arab League after the summit.

"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 global and Strategic Affairs.

The report said that in His Majesty King Abdullah's visits and meetings with kings, presidents and heads of state over the past year, as well as Jordan's entry of regional and global organisations and blocs, the Kingdom made it clear that comprehensive and lasting peace is a strategic Arab option, embodied in the peace initiative adopted by all Arab countries at the Beirut Summit in 2002, which was backed by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and remains the most comprehensive and viable plan to achieve a historic reconciliation, based on Israel's withdrawal from all the occupied Palestinian territories.

Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League Hossam Zaki said in remarks on the sidelines of the preparatory meetings, that the Arab foreign ministers discussed the political issues on the agenda of the arab summit, especially the Palestinian cause and major crises in Syria, Libya, Yemen and others, in addition to the permanent agenda items, especially with regard to solidarity with Lebanon, support for peace and development in Sudan and support for the Union of the Comoros, as well as the remaining permanent items on the agenda of the Arab summit.

"We renew our strong condemnation of terrorist acts carried out by Iran in the Arab region, and we reject its blatant interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries", King Salman said at a summit of Arab leaders, without referencing Friday's missile strikes on Syria, according to Reuters.

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Opening the 29th Arab League summit, the king criticised the U.S. decision to transfer its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and described "terrorism" as the biggest challenge facing Arab leaders.

The four countries severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar last June, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Tensions have eased slightly in recent months but Qatar still only sent its representative to the Arab League to the Dhahran summit. Doha denies the charges and says the boycott is an attempt to impinge on its sovereignty.

The last Arab summit was held in Jordan past year. Gheit condemned Iranian interference in Bahrain and other Arab countries. Trump publicly sided with the Saudis and Emiratis early in the crisis but is now pushing for a resolution to restore Gulf Arab unity and maintain a united front against Iran.

"It's not a big problem", he said.

Tunisia will host the next Arab League summit in 2019.

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