Arab summit opens in Saudi Arabia

Arab summit opens in 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 past year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel which Arab states condemned.

The Arab Summit started on Sunday its 29th ordinary session at King Abdulaziz International Cultural Centre in Dhahran.

Sheikh Tamim returned to Doha on Saturday from a USA trip where he met President Donald Trump, who had publicly sided with the Saudis and Emiratis early in the crisis, but is now pushing for a resolution to restore Gulf Arab unity and maintain a united front against Iran.

"We reiterate our rejection of the United States administration's decision on Jerusalem", the King said, adding, "We commend the global consensus that rejects it".

The President briefed el-Sisi on the vision he had presented before the UN Security Council in which he stressed the need for a multi-lateral worldwide peace conference that calls for the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

I write on my way back from Saudi Arabia, where I took part - for the second time in a row - in the annual summit of the Arab League.

The move has sparked deep anger among the Palestinians - who see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state - and across the Arab world.

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At a preliminary meeting in Riyadh on Thursday, Arab ministers focused heavily on blocking the embassy move, unanimously condemning Trump's decision and moving to block Israel's bid to secure at seat at the UN Security Council this June.

Israel occupied mainly Palestinian east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the global community.

King Salman also announced a $50 million donation to UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.

Regional powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Iran have been locked in a decades-long struggle for supremacy that is being waged in proxy wars in several countries, including Yemen and Syria.

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 Huthi rebels. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for five counts of crimes against humanity, three counts of genocide and two counts of war crimes. Syria has been suspended from the pan-Arab body since 2011 over the regime's actions in the war.

We also welcome the consensus on holding the Arab Cultural Summit, hoping that it will contribute to the advancement of the Arab-Islamic culture.

Gulf Arab states have made massive donations to Syria but have not officially offered asylum to Syrians.

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