Saudi to pressure rival Iran

16 April, 2018, 12:01 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Saudi Arabia condemns Iran in wake of missile strikes in Syria

"We reiterate our rejection of the United States decision on Jerusalem", the king said in a speech in Dhahran in eastern Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's push for a tough stand against Iran is expected to dominate the summit.

"We reiterate our rejection of the U.S. decision on Jerusalem", Salman said adding "East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories".

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

The 82-year-old monarch dubbed the Arab League meeting the "Jerusalem summit" as he took aim at Washington's decision to transfer its embassy in Israel to the holy city.

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.

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King Salman reiterated Saudi Arabia's rejection of the US decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Arab League summit's final communique called for more worldwide sanctions on Iran and urged it to withdraw "its militias" from Syria and Yemen.

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

"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.

Arab ministers at a preliminary meeting in Riyadh on Thursday focused heavily on blocking the embassy move, unanimously condemning Trump's decision. The kingdom announced another $50 million for programs run by the United Nations relief agency for Palestinians after the USA slashed its aid.

The conflict could be ended through a two-state solution that guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with the July 1967 borders and East Al-Quds as its capital, the declaration says.

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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.

Saudi King Salman told leaders from across the 22-member Arab League that Iran was to blame for instability and meddling in the region.

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.

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

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

There was little mention of Syria, whose president Bashar al Assad was not invited to the summit.

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