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Concerted response to rifts key: Amir

Heads of delegations to the Tunis Arab Summit including HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah pose for a group photo

TUNIS, March 31, (Agencies): The Arab world remains determined to overcome all challenges thrust upon the region, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah said on Sunday, calling for unity and concerted response across the board in the face of such adversity.

Allaying concerns over lagging growth across the region, he told a gathering of Arab leaders and senior officials in the Tunisian capital that keeping the status quo is no longer an option. He highlighted a decade-long plan to fulfill the ambitions of the Arab people, pinpointing initiatives Kuwait has made in recent years to push that plan closer to fruition. On the scourge of terrorism, His Highness the Amir said it remains a lingering threat, citing “horrific” attacks on a pair of mosques in New Zealand recently as affirmation. In this context, His Highness the Amir reiterated sharp condemnation of the attacks as a criminal act, while supporting all international efforts to eliminate terrorism. On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, His Highness the Amir said it continues to be the Arab world’s “chief concern,” while the matter has been largely overlooked by the international community.

Addressing the “bloody conflicts” in Syria and Yemen, he said a political solution in both countries is the only way forward, which is crucial to ultimately restore peace and stability to the war-torn nations. He pointed out that it was necessary to maintain amicable relations with Iran, which should fully abide by the principles of international law, including non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Kuwait will continue to have the Arab region’s best interests at heart, His Highness the Amir promised.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Sunday expressed enormous appreciation for the role of His Highness the Amir as a “bridge builder and peacemaker”.

This came in a press statement following his meeting with His Highness the Amir on the sidelines of the 30th Arab Summit held in Tunis. “Kuwait has been in the front line of all efforts to bring harmony and peace to the region and all efforts to bring humanitarian aid to those who need,” he said.

“We are very proud to have Kuwait as partner, and we are very proud of the friendship that His Highness grants to us,” he added. Guterres also voiced deep admiration to His Highness the Amir, Kuwaiti government and people.

Meanwhile, Arab leaders, long divided by regional rivalries, condemned on Sunday a US decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights and said Middle East stability depended on creating a Palestinian state.

Arab leaders, gathering at the summit in Tunis, have been under popular pressure to reject Washington’s action, while they also grapple with regional differences, including a bitter Gulf Arab dispute, splits over Iran’s regional influence, the war in Yemen and unrest in Algeria and Sudan. The abrupt departure from the summit of Qatari Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who is locked in a row with Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies, suggested regional differences were not easily buried. No reason was given for his departure.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz told Arab monarchs, presidents and prime ministers at the meeting that his country “absolutely rejects” any measures affecting Syria’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

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