March 29, 2019
This picture was taken on March 28, 2019 shows the national flags of the Arab League member states flying outside the Council of Arab Interior Ministers’ headquarters in the Tunisian capital Tunis, ahead of the Arab League summit due to take place on March 31. (AFP)
By Arab News
TUNIS – Arab leaders convened in the Tunisian capital on Sunday for the Arab League summit, which tackled a number of regional issues – from the conflict in Yemen to Iran’s behavior in the region.
Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf opened the meeting, attended by foreign ministers from other Arab countries, and spoke of a number of issues including the widely-criticized US move to recognize Israeli control over the Golan Heights.
“We reject President Trump’s declaration on the occupied Golan, which is a Syrian Arab land,” Al-Assaf said.
“We reject any measures that affect the historical status of Jerusalem,” he added – a sentiment later echoed by his Tunisian counterpart Khemaies Jhinaoui and Arab League Secretary-General Aboul Gheit, who also had their own speeches at the meeting.
Al-Assaf said the kingdom supports Syria’s territorial integrity and a political solution based on dialogue between the opposition and government.
The Saudi foreign minister went on to speak about the “interference of Iran and its militias” in the Arab world.
“Iran’s ballistic missiles pose a threat to regional and international security… We hold Iran fully responsible for what is happening in Yemen,” he said.
He then praised the efforts of the United Nations in Yemen, Syria, and Libya.
For his part, Jhinaoui brought up issues concerning Palestine and Libya, expressing support for both countries.
“We support the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital based on international resolutions,” he said.
On Libya, Jhinaoui stated: “We call upon our brothers in Libya to unite and give the country’s interest to reach a comprehensive solution.”
He then assured of the Arab League’s role in addressing regional problems “to serve the common causes.”
“The threat of terrorism exists and remains the greatest challenge for our countries,” he said.
Before closing the session, Gheit reiterated the organization’s position on the issues previously discussed by the two foreign ministers, and praised “Saudi Arabia’s leadership of the last summit was successful by all standards.”