A photo published by the royal palace in Saudi Arabia shows a general view of the Arab summit held in Dhahran, in eastern Saudi Arabia, on April 15, 2018
Arab leaders denounced on Sunday, at the end of their summit in Saudi Arabia, the decision of the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and condemned, as every year, the “interference” of Iran in their affairs.
Twenty-four hours after US, British and French strikes against targets of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, the Arab summit held in Dhahran (east) called for “reactivating the political process” to end to the devastating conflict in this country.
Saudi Arabia supported the Western military operation in Syria on Saturday in response to an alleged chemical attack by the regime on April 7 against a rebel enclave near Damascus.
In their final communique, representatives of the 22 members of the Arab League reaffirmed their “support for the Palestinian cause” and rejected as “illegitimate the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (…) East Jerusalem will remain the capital of Arab Palestine “.
Breaking with its predecessors, President Donald Trump announced in December that Washington officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, provoking the ire of Palestinians who want to make the eastern part of Jerusalem, occupied by the Jewish state, the capital. of the state to which they aspire.
The US Embassy is to be transferred from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in mid-May.
– “Strong and strategic” relationships –
At the beginning of the summit, Saudi King Salman stressed that the question of Jerusalem and the “aggressive” attitude of the Iranian rival were at the top of the Arab agenda.
He announced a $ 150 million donation “to support the administration of Islamic property” in East Jerusalem.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir Speaks at a Press Conference Following the Closing of the Arab Summit in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia, April 15, 2018
Despite Saudi criticism of the US decision on Jerusalem, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir stressed during a press conference that his country would continue to have “strong and strategic” relations with the country. American ally.
In early April, the powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, said the Israelis also had the “right” to have their own state, sending what appears to be a new signal of rapprochement with Israel, like Ryad, regards Tehran as his pet peeve.
Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, the two rival powers in the region, have been engaged in inter-allied conflict for years, whether in Syria, Yemen, Iraq or Lebanon.
As every year, Arab leaders “rejected Iranian interference in the affairs of Arab countries and denounced aggressive attempts to undermine regional security.”
– “Arming terrorist militias” –
Ryad took the lead in a coalition in neighboring Yemen in 2015 in support of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s leadership against the advance of the pro-Iranian rebels who are firing more missiles at Saudi Arabia.
The rebels have also started using drones to shoot targets in southern Saudi Arabia, with the Yemeni government accusing Iran of supplying the rebels with these weapons.
In their statement, Arab leaders again accused Iran of “arming terrorist militias in several Arab countries in violation of good-neighborly relations and international conventions”.
Iran defends itself to arm Yemeni rebels, although it recognizes to support them politically.
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, that a crisis opposes Saudi Arabia over the alleged support of Doha to extremist groups, did not participate in the summit of Dhahran.
Qatar was represented by its representative to the Arab League.
This type of meeting rarely leads to concrete actions. The last time the Arab League, created in 1945, took a strong decision dates back to 2011, when it suspended Syria because of the responsibilities of its president Bashar al-Assad in the civil war.
The next Arab summit will be held in 2019 in Tunisia.