Arab Leaders Mute On Syria Strikes At Saudi Summit

Saudi Arabia condemns Iran in wake of missile strikes in Syria

An Arab League summit called on Sunday for an worldwide probe into the "criminal" use of chemical weapons in Syria and condemned what it saw as Iran's interference in the affairs of other countries.

Seven years into a war that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, Saudi Arabia and Iran now agree that the country's future can not be decided exclusively by the Assad regime, whose troops have regained the upper hand with massive support from Russian Federation.

They will also reiterate their commitment to peace that leads to the creation of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in line with the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which offers Israel normal ties with the Arabs in return for withdrawal from territories it occupied in 1967.

King Salman therefore rejected and condemned the American administration's decision to relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, hailing the global denouncement of Washington's decision.

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.

Within the same context, Arab leaders will condemn the Turkish military operations in Syria's Afrin and the military operations in the Ghouta area by the regime with Russian and Iranian support.

The 22-member Arab League held its annual summit on Sunday in Dhahran, eastern Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia, which takes over the rotating chair of the Arab summit from Jordan, announced that the current gathering would be named the "Quds (Jerusalem) Summit", a reference to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision a year ago to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel which Arab states condemned.

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There was no mention in King Salman's remarks nor in the summit's closing statement of Saturday's missile launch by the United States, Britain and France against three alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria.

"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", King Salman said.

Arab ministers at a preliminary meeting in Riyadh on Thursday focused heavily on blocking the move, unanimously condemning the decision by US President Donald Trump.

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

The two rivals are engaged in proxy wars in Yemen and Syria but also back opposing sides in Lebanon, Iraq and Bahrain.

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.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, said that the serious crises in the region facilitated foreign interference.

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