Saudi king slams Iran 'interference' as Arab leaders meet

Saudi king slams Iran 'interference' as Arab leaders meet

Saudi king slams Iran 'interference' as Arab leaders meet

Permanent Representative of Qatar to the Arab League Ambassador Saif bin Muqaddam Al Buainain heads Qatar's delegation participating in the ordinary Arab League Summit at its 29th session, which begins on Sunday in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

On Libya, the Arab leaders will stress their commitment to supporting the unity and sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the North African country, rejecting any interference in its affairs.

"East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories", he asserted.

The summit was held some two days after United States, France and Britain, hit three sites, one in Damascus, and two in the city of Homs, in Syria which US President Donald Trump claimed were "associated with the chemical weapon capabilities" of the Syrian government.

Last December, Trump reversed decades of USA policy by announcing the United States' recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud attends the 29th Arab League Summit in Dhahran, shown in a handout picture released by the Saudi Royal Palace on April 15, 2018.

"It is a pity that some of the member states of the Arab League ignore the historical and geographical realities and disregard the sovereignty of their neighbours", he said, adding that they do not follow a rational policy based on good neighbourliness.

But the leaders were divided over the US-led air strikes against Syria.

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Despite widespread Arab condemnation of the suspected chemical attack, the Dhahran summit is unlikely to call for Assad to step down.

"The summit condemned Iranian interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries, either through igniting sectarian strife or planting militias in Arab countries such as Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen, and harboring al Qaeda terrorists", Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference.

Arab ministers at a preliminary meeting in Riyadh on Thursday focused heavily on blocking the move, unanimously condemning Trump's decision.

"The Palestinian cause is our primary cause and it will remain so until our fraternal Palestinian people obtain all of their legitimate rights, starting with the establishment of an independent state, whose capital is east Jerusalem", he stressed.

Regional powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Iran have been locked in a decades-long struggle for supremacy that is being waged in proxy wars in several countries, including Yemen and Syria.

In February, Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have expressed concern over Iran's failure to block supplies of missiles to Yemen's Houthi rebels.

In response, Saudi Arabia renamed this year's summit "Quds [Jerusalem] Summit".

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