Keep your eye on the Arab summit

Saudi King Salman Insists 'East Jerusalem Must Be Capital of Palestinian State'

Saudi King Salman Insists 'East Jerusalem Must Be Capital of Palestinian State'

"We renew our strong condemnation of terrorist acts carried out by Iran in the Arab region, and we reject its blatant interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries", King Salman said at a summit of Arab leaders, without referencing Friday's missile strikes on Syria, according to Reuters.

The meeting this year took place after the U.S., Britain and France launched dozens of strikes early Saturday at sites they said were linked to Syria's chemical weapons program.

They will also condemn Iran's interference in the affairs of the Arab states as a stark violation to the worldwide law and will urge Tehran to stop all provocative acts that undermine trust-building efforts and threaten regional stability and security, especially after Iran-backed Houthis escalated firing missiles against Saudi Arabia.

On Sunday, King Salman made it clear he was unhappy with Mr Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, an opinion backed by the other leaders at the summit.

The Arab leaders participating in the summit have affirmed centrality of the Palestinian issue and importance of the status of eastern Jerusalem as the capital of the future state of Palestine.

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.

He also announced a $150m (£105m) donation for the maintenance of Islamic heritage in East Jerusalem, including the Al Aqsa mosque, and $50m (£35m) in funding for the United Nations agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - occupied by Israel since 1967 - might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

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The two regional titans, locked in proxy wars in Syria and in Saudi Arabia's southern neighbour Yemen, back opposing parties in Iraq and Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia is pushing for a tough, unified stance against its regional arch-rival Iran at the annual gathering of the 22-member Arab League.

The summit begins on Sunday in the East coast city of Dammam.

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.

Not at the summit is Qatar, which has been cut off from its Gulf allies over accusations of ties to Iran and support for extremists - claims denied by Doha.

The Arab League was founded in 1945 to protect newly-won independence throughout the region.

Iran has always been a supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and backs Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement, whose fighters are deployed in Syria alongside regime forces.

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