Arab League backs Saudi against ‘hostile’ Iran – Kuwait renews support

A general view shows Arab foreign ministers during an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Jan 10. (AFP)
A general view shows Arab foreign ministers during an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Jan 10. (AFP)

CAIRO, Jan 10, (Agencies): Arab League countries on Sunday expressed their full support for Saudi Arabia in dealing with the “hostile acts and provocations of Iran” amid a diplomatic dispute between the bitter rivals. In a communique, the pan-Arab bloc’s foreign ministers meeting in Cairo condemned “hostile Iranian statements” issued in response to the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia on Jan 2.

Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah has renewed Kuwait’s support to the measures taken by Saudi Arabia for the Kingdom’s security and stability. Addressing an extraordinary meeting of Arab foreign ministers held in Cairo on Sunday, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said the gathering comes as the region has entered the sixth year of a “strenuous labor”, whose high-threatening and high-risk repercussions and outcome impact its security and stability. He pointed to a similar ministerial meeting held two weeks before, responding to a request by Iraq, to discuss Turkey’s military deployment on the Iraqi soil. He highlighted the solidarity and consensus on backing Iraq’s unity and sovereignty on its full territories.

The Arab foreign ministers are meeting today, as requested by Saudi Arabia, to discuss the aggression on the Kingdom’s embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad, he said. This makes it inevitable for Arab countries to take the same stance, namely supporting Saudi decisions and measures, out of commitment to regional and international laws and charters, including the Arab League’s, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled told the meeting. He noted that Kuwait, since the very beginning, affirmed support to the measures Saudi Arabia took to maintain its security and stability and to provide protection to its diplomatic missions overseas.

The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry issued a statement that voice strong denunciation and condemnation to the “hostile acts” committed by protesters against the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad, he said. The following day, the cabinet stressed in a statement Kuwait’s unwavering stance, standing side by side with “brothers in Saudi Arabia,” as well as condemning the acts of sabotage that run against international laws and charters. In addition, Kuwait recalled its ambassador from Iran to reaffirm rejection of the aggression.

The foreign ministry summoned the Iranian envoy and handed him an official protest note on Kuwait’s denunciation and condemnation of the aggression against the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. It also stressed the significance of commitment to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963), according to which host governments are committed to taking the necessary measures to safeguard diplomatic missions, in addition to the enhancing principles of good neighborliness and no-interference in the internal affairs of other states. He said that support by the Arab coun-tries to Riyadh’s call for today’s extraordinary meeting to discuss the aggression, is an “Arab duty” to conclude a unified stance “ rejecting Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of all Arab states, in line with previous resolutions expressing concern over such interference. The last of these, according to the Kuwaiti chief diplomat, was the Statement 211 on 24 December 2015 on Iranian interference in the Arab World.

There was also Resolution 7939 on 13 September 2015, issued by the 144th regular session on Iran’s occupation of the UAE’s three islands, in addition to Resolution 7940 on the Islamic Republic’s interference in neighboring Arab states. Moreover, Statement 208 was issued on 13 September on Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled reiterated the Saturday statement by the 142nd extraordinary meeting of the GCC Ministerial Council (Foreign Ministers) in Riyadh which stressed that the bloc’s members stand united beside Saudi Arabia, supporting the resolutions and the measures the Kingdom to fight all forms of terrorism.

The Council also lauded the efficiency, independence and integrity of the Saudi judiciary. Concluding Kuwait’s statement to the Cairo extraordinary ministerial meeting, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled underscored support to the Saudi measures seeking to maintain the Kingdom’s security and stability and to counter terrorism. Kuwait also backs the Arab League’s draft resolution in that respect, he said. Iranian protesters stormed and torched the Saudi diplomatic mission in Iran following the execution of 47 Saudi terror convicts in Saudi Arabia. On Jan 3, Saudi Arabia consequently severed all diplomatic and trade ties with Iran. Several countries and regional and international organizations condemned the aggression against the Saudi diplomatic missions, and affirmed support to, and solidarity with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Sunday his country would resolutely respond to Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries. Addressing an extraordinary meeting of Arab foreign ministers held in Cairo, the Saudi foreign minister said it is also the responsibility of the Arab League to stand against Iran’s interference in Arab affairs with a view to protecting and safeguarding Arab security and stability.

He reiterated the kingdom’s condemnation of recent attacks on the Saudi Embassy and Consulate in Tehran and Mashhad respectively as clearly reflecting Iran’s policy in the Arab region, which is based on meddling in Arab affairs, fomenting sectarian and communal strife and disrupting regional security and stability. Iran’s recent aggressions came following hostile Iranian statements against Saudi Arabia, and violated all international treaties and conventions that require all states to protect each other’s diplomatic missions, he noted. Saudi Arabia said on Sunday its cutting of diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran was a first step and it could take more action if Tehran does not change its policies, but did not expect the dispute to affect efforts to end the war in Syria.

Speaking at a news conference after an Arab League meeting on the spat between the two Gulf rivals, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country would discuss any potential further actions against Iran with its regional and international allies but gave no details on what those measures might involve. Jubeir said some countries had offered to mediate but that required Iran to be serious about the efforts. “With regards to mediation, there are some states that have expressed their readiness to conduct this, but the important thing is seriousness with regards to the Iranian position,” he said.

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