Iran urged to respond positively to Gulf initiative
DEAD SEA, Jordan, March 28, (Agencies): His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is keen bolstering Arab solidarity and cooperation during his participation in the upcoming 28th Arab Summit due in Jordan on March 29, said a Kuwaiti diplomat Tuesday.
Kuwaiti Ambassador to Jordan Dr. Hamad Al-Duaij told KUNA that the Arab region was going through an exceptional period, which required a strong and unified stance against challenges facing Arab countries. Kuwait has always been on the frontline of supporting inter-Arab cooperation and dialogue, said the Ambassador who affirmed that the upcoming summit represented a true chance for Arabs to unite for the betterment and progress of their people.
Ambassador Al-Duaij lauded the Jordanian monarchy for its strong preparation for the grand Arab event, affirming that the summit will hopefully bring upon resolutions to resolve a number of vital Arab issues. The Arab summit will touch on a number of topics namely the Palestinian cause, the situations in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq in addition to issues focused on Arab security and economic development. Meanwhile, holding the Arab Summit in Jordan tomorrow is an appropriate platform for pushing forward joint Arab cooperation and action, said Jordan’s Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Al-Momani. The minister made the statement to KUNA Tuesday, a day before the summit slated for March 29, in the Dead Sea area.
The summit will help Arab leaders discuss issues, share their views which concern the Arab world and address big challenges facing Arab national security, he said. Jordan has been holding close relations with all Arab countries, he pointed out.
The Palestinian cause will feature high on the agenda of the summit as it concerns both Arab and Muslim countries, Al-Momani affirmed. The summit will also pay much attention to the crises in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Libya, as well as war on terror and Arab national security, he said. He referred that preparations on all levels were smooth at behest of Jordan’s King Abdullah II aiming to make a successful summit.
There are three main committees responsible for these preparations, he revealed, and the country was now set to host the Arab leaders. Jordanian top lawmakers underlined the importance of the upcoming Arab summit, hosted in Jordan, affirming that the event will be a real opportunity for Arabs to recognize their issues and top priorities. Two top Jordanian legislators said that the summit is “an exceptional opportunity and a genuine step” towards bringing back Arab unity, and activating joint action, including achieving the aspirations of the Arab world through the return of stability and boosting Arab economic integration. The two officials made their remarks, in two separate statements to KUNA, marking the occasion of hosting the 28th regular session of the Arab summit.
Atef Al-Taraweneh, Speaker of Jordan’s House of Representatives, said that this summit needed to strengthen Arab support to the Palestinians at all levels, including “making progress on the Palestinian reconciliation issue, and the renewal of Arab support for a political process to declare the establishment of a state with Jerusalem as its capital.” He stressed the importance of “Arab consensus” to support the efforts for a political solution in Syria, being the only solution to ensure the national unity of the Arab country. Regarding Iraq, Al-Taraweneh said this summit “must support anti-terrorism efforts in Iraq and support Iraq’s reconciliation efforts which would protect it from the horror of sectarian division.” Al-Taraweneh added that the Arab Summit Presidency, which will be chaired by Jordan for a full year, will benefit from “the effective and influential international presence of Jordan’s King Abdullah, who is known for having a balanced Arab and foreign relations.”
On his part, Jordanian President of “Dignitaries” Senate Council Faisal Al-Fayez told KUNA that he hopes that this summit would be a real opportunity for the Arab world to reorganize priorities. Al-Fayez said that the topics of Jerusalem and Middle East peace will be important issues on the agenda of the summit, which takes place in light of ongoing crises due to the repercussions of the Arab Spring. Al-Fayez pointed out that the Arab people expect the outcome of this summit to contribute to suppressing conflicts, extremism, and sectarianism. The Jordanian lawmaker expressed hope that this summit would also bolster Arab economic integration and the development of mechanisms. Al-Fayez also mentioned that selecting Amman city as “the capital of harmony and agreement” as a venue for the summit underscored the importance of the pivotal role of Jordan in the region. He also attributed Jordan’s important status in the region to the relentless efforts exerted by Jordan’s King Abdullah II, in finding a “just and peaceful” for problems facing the Middle East.
Meanwhile, the Arab League said on Tuesday that the 28th Arab summit in Jordan is taking place in a “positive” atmosphere that would push towards bilateral and tripartite Arab meetings and understandings.
The remarks were made in a press statement by Assistant Secretary General of the Arab League Hosam Zaki, on the sidelines of the summit events. Zaki added that such understandings are increasing, especially with regard to some matters related to bilateral relations between countries, pointing out that these understandings that may witness the entry of a third party that might contribute to the elimination of indifferences or problems. This, in turn, will certainly lead to a “successful summit” and will be in the interest of joint Arab action.
The League’s official hoped that the current summit will succeed in having a high presence and participation, despite the nature of issues and the exceptional circumstances taking place in the region. Regarding the outcome of the summit and maintaining Arab national security as well as the fight against terrorism, Zaki said that the issue of terrorism is a high priority for the Arab League and Member States. He pointed out that terrorism has targeted everyone and must be effectivley combated and eradicated through an integrated and comprehensive plan. In another report, an Arab ministerial committee called on Iran to “respond positively” to a GCC initiative, conveyed via His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah’s letter to Iranian President Hasan Rouhani.
The committee said Monday the Gulf Cooperation Council’s initiative would bring about security and stability in the region. This came in a statement issued by the Arab quartet ministerial committee’s fifth meeting to follow up relations with Iran, and ways to address Tehran’s interference in Arab countries’ internal affairs. The meeting was held on the sidelines of foreign ministers’ preparatory meeting. The committee, which was chaired by UAE and includes Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, including Arab League Secretary-General Ahmad Abul Gheit, discussed relations with Iran, and ways to deal with Iranian meddling in Arab internal affairs, a statement from the committee received by KUNA said. The statement noted committee members discussed a report prepared by the General Secretariat of the Arab League, including steps taken to implement decisions made at Nouakchott’s Arab Summit last year, as well as monitoring the most negative statements Iranian officials made towards Arab countries. The statement mentioned that the committee condemned “Iranian interference in Arab internal affairs and denounced provocative statements by Iranian officials against Arab countries.” The committee also expressed its deep concern about Iran’s sectarian strife in Arab countries that could lead to chaos and instability in the region, which would also hinder regional and international efforts for a peaceful solutions to crises in the region.
The committee adopted recommendations issued by a senior team of experts in order to develop an Arab action plan to address Iranian interventions in the Arab region. Finally, the committee underlined the importance that Iran complied with UN Security Council resolution 2231, for the year 2015, and the need to abide by all agreements related to its nuclear program. “The Palestinian issue is the central issue. It is the root cause of conflict in the region and its resolution is the key to peace and stability. We hope we will be able to again relaunch efforts that would get serious negotiations restarted again,” said Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.
The biggest disagreement among Arab countries is over the regional role of Iran, an ally of Syria and Iraq and the Shi’ite Hezbollah movement that dominates Lebanon, but regarded by Saudi Arabia and some other Sunni Muslim states as a bitter adversary. Shi’ite Iran and Saudi Arabia support opposing sides in the civil wars in Syria and Yemen, which have caused humanitarian catastrophes, and in political and factional disputes simmering for years in Bahrain and Lebanon. The Middle East’s political feuds have stoked sectarian tensions between Islam’s main Sunni and Shi’ite branches in recent years, contributing to increased militant violence. “We meet in a difficult Arab era dominated by crisis and conflicts that deprive our region of the security and stability they need to attain our people’s rights,” Safadi said in a meeting with fellow foreign ministers before the summit. A Jordanian official told Reuters that the final statement from the summit was expected to include a condemnation of Iran for what it called meddling in internal Arab affairs, and to call on it to refrain from using force or threats. Iran denies any such interference. A summit meeting of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation included a similar line in its final statement last year. Friction also smoulders between Saudi Arabia, the richest Arab state, and Egypt, the most populous one – close allies for decades before the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings – over approaches to Syria’s war and the demarcation of their marine border.