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‘Arab sky overcast, action stagnant’ – Saudi King slams Iran interference

A group photo of Arab leaders and representatives attending the Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is pictured 8th from left (front row).

DHAHRAN, April 15, (Agencies): Sky of our Arab nation is overcast; joint action is stagnant if not paralyzed at times, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said on Sunday. The remark came at the beginning of His Highness’ speech at the opening session of the 29th Arab Summit, which was inaugurated earlier in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

His Highness offered condolences to the Algerian people over military plane crash near Boufarik Airport that killed and wounded hundreds, asking Almighty Allah to bestow mercy upon those who have been killed and speedy recovery to those wounded.

His Highness the Amir said that the current state of Arab affairs with “such hurtful facts, the convening of this Summit under the chairmanship of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is seen as a fresh start that would revive hopes of the people of this nation, as well as an outlet for the state of frustration they are living. Therefore, it is demanded from us to double efforts in order to solve our differences; a challenge that is weakening us and giving leverage to those who wish us harm.”

His Highness the Amir also called for addressing deficiencies marring the Arab joint action through invigorating recommendations and resolutions. “Through its non-permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council, my country; Kuwait, will relentlessly work to defend Arab causes, as well as contribute in re-activating the role of the Council in lessening impacts of such inactivity. You might have followed such efforts, which led to the unanimous adoption of Resolution 2401 regarding recent developments in eastern Ghouta, Syria, which unfortunately was hindered due to recent escalations.

“The now eight-year-long conflict in Syria, which has led to a humanitarian crisis, makes hearts bleed, as it reveals the unfortunate incapacity and double-standardness of the international community in dealing with this file. Such community condemns, and might take some measures for a sporadic explosion here or there. However, at the same time, stands helpless to denounce or take action in favor of hundreds of thousands of killed, injured and displaced people in Syria. “Thus, Kuwait has not, and will not, hesitate to fulfill its humanitarian obligations in regards to helping the brotherly Syrian people in their plight.”

On the latest developments on the ground, His Highness said, “We have been following; with utmost concern, the latest air strikes, which came as a deterrent for the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. We reiterate that these developments, once again, took place because of the United Nations Security Council’s inability to reach a political solution for the conflict in Syria. “We are looking forward for the Council to overcome differences among its members and show unity so as to shoulder its historic responsibility in preserving international peace and stability.”

On Iraq, His Highness the Amir congratulated the Iraqi people on liberating all of their territories from the so-called organization, “DAESH,” noting that Kuwait had organized the successful international conference for rebuilding Iraq. He expressed hope that parliamentary elections in Iraq, due next month, would be successful and would represent various segments of the Iraqi people. His Highness the Amir condemned recurring missile attacks on Saudi Arabia from Yemen, praising the role of the states participating in the coalition for restoring legitimacy to Yemen, namely their role in tackling difficult humanitarian conditions in the troubled country.

He expressed deep distress at Washington’s decision to transfer its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in violation of international legitimacy resolutions. “I call from this platform upon the US Administration to rescind its decision and play its role as sponsor of this (peace) process,” he said.

The Security Council, His Highness noted, should have taken action toward the recent killing of scores of Palestinians. As to Libya, His Highness hoped conciliation efforts would restore security to this nation. On terrorism, His Highness Sheikh Sabah called for doubling efforts to wipe out terrorism. Regarding Iran, His highness urged Tehran to abide by international laws, good neighborliness principles and abstain from meddling in regional states’ affairs.

Iran slammed Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Sunday slammed Iran’s “blatant interference” in regional affairs. Opening the 29th Arab League summit, the king also criticised the US decision to transfer its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and described terrorism as the biggest challenge facing Arab leaders. Seventeen leaders from across the Arab world — minus Syrian President Bashar al- Assad — gathered in the eastern Saudi city of Dhahran for the summit, which this year comes as world powers face off over Syria and tensions rise between Riyadh and Tehran.

The meeting opened only 24 hours after a barrage of strikes launched by the United States, Britain and France hit targets they said were linked to chemical weapons development in Syria, which was suspended from the league seven years ago. But King Salman avoided any mention of Syria in his address, as a seat marked “Syrian Arab Republic” sat empty in the hall. Instead, the king focused on rivalries with long-time foe Iran – only 160km across the Gulf from Dharan.

“We renew our strong condemnation of Iran’s terrorist acts in the Arab region and reject its blatant interference in the affairs of Arab countries,” the king said. And despite being a stalwart ally of the United States, the ruler also criticised US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to transfer America’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “We reiterate our rejection of the US decision on Jerusalem,” King Salman said.

“East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories.” Arab ministers at a preliminary meeting in Riyadh last 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. Saudi Arabia is pushing for a tough, unified stance against its regional arch-rival Iran at the annual gathering of the 22-member Arab League. The two regional titans back opposing sides in a range of hotspots across the Middle East, including Lebanon and Syria and in Saudi Arabia’s southern neighbour Yemen.

Iran is backing Shiite Houthi rebels that Riyadh opposes in Yemen and on Sunday King Salman praised “the UN Security Council’s statement denouncing the Iranianmade ballistic missile fire on Saudi cities”. Last month, the Security Council issued a statement condemning Houthi missile attacks on Saudi, but did not name Iran. 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.


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