Arab League summit kicks off with focus on Jerusalem conflict, Syrian crisis

Arab League summit kicks off with focus on Jerusalem conflict, Syrian crisis

The main focus of King Salman's opening speech was Iran, which he criticised for "terrorist acts" and "blatant interference" in regional affairs, particularly the conflict in Yemen.

The 29 Arab League Summit is scheduled to kick off in the Saudi city of Dhahran on April 15, 2018.

King Salman, who travels rarely because of his declining health, said: "We reiterate our rejection of the USA decision on Jerusalem".

Sixteen Arab leaders are attending the summit, which comes one day after the U.S., France and Britain launched a joint airstrike in Syria in the wake of a suspected chemical attack by regime forces.

In his speech at the summit, King Salman stressed that the Palestinian issue is "our first issue and will remain so" expressing his condemnation of the decision of the United States administration to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem.

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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 global peace conference that calls for the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Thursday's preparatory meeting of Arab foreign ministers said there could be "no peace and security in the region as long as Iran continues to interfere in the domestic affairs of Arab states".

Mr Trump then told reporters that the relationship between the two countries was "probably the strongest it has ever been", adding: "We understand each other".

"Saudi Arabia is going to push for a much harsher stance on Iran - not necessarily on the nuclear dossier per se, but on Iranian influence in the Arab countries, particularly Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen", said Karim Bitar of the Paris-based Institute of global and Strategic Affairs.

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