Saudi king slams Iranian 'interference,' US Jerusalem move at Arab summit

Abdel Fattah El Sisi

Abdel Fattah El Sisi

In his opening speech at the Arab League summit, Salman also criticised the controversial USA 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.

"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", he said.

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.

He said Yemeni rebel Houthis, backed by Iran, had fired 116 missiles at the kingdom since Saudi Arabia went to war in Yemen three years ago to try to roll back Houthi gains there.

"During the closing session, Dr. Abdulaziz bin Saqr told the conference that a lasting, comprehensive peace continues to be "...the central cause of our nation, to reach the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the borders of June 4, 1967".

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

King Salman on Sunday announced a $150 million donation for the maintenance of Islamic heritage in East Jerusalem.

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

Moreover, Qassemi called on the Arab League member states to take necessary measures to build confidence and promote stability in the region.

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.

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On Saturday, the umbrella Arab League said the summit will not discuss Gulf crisis, which was triggered by last year's cut-off of diplomatic ties between four Arab states and Qatar amid accusations for Doha of supporting terrorism. Qatar's emir was not in attendance, instead dispatching his country's Arab League representative to the meeting.

In attendance were leaders from the Middle East and North Africa, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah.

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

Western states have accused the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of an April 7 attack using chemicals in the Syrian town of Douma.

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