Arab summit concludes with strong appeal for regional peace, unity

Nellie Chapman
April 16, 2018

Saudi Arabia will use the summit to seek Arab support to pile the pressure on Iran.

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

The summit also issued the "Dhahran Declaration" which brought the viewpoint of the Arab leaders on the issues related to the region.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud attends during the opening of 29th Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia April 15, 2018.

The summit was held some two days after United States, France and Britain, hit three sites, one in Damascus, and two in the city of Homs, in Syria which US President Donald Trump claimed were "associated with the chemical weapon capabilities" of the Syrian government.

Leaders of Arab nations are calling for an worldwide investigation into the suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Missiles targeted a research centre, two chemical weapons facilities and an Assad regime command centre.

However, Iran not Israel was the main topic of Salman's remarks.

Meanwhile, Iran has led proxy battles in several Arab countries, including Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Heads of States and dignitaries from Arab League participating countries started arriving on Saturday.

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The question of Jerusalem is also likely to figure prominently at the summit as the United States prepares to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv after declaring the disputed city the capital of Israel in a break with decades of global diplomacy.

In its closing session, the summit announced Arab Nations' agreement to continue supporting the Palestinian cause, which is the "central issue" of the Arab world, until the independent Palestinian state is established inside the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital.

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 previous year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel which Arab states condemned.

Arab ministers at a preliminary meeting in Riyadh on Thursday focused heavily on blocking the embassy move, unanimously condemning Trump's decision.

King Abdullah II of Jordan said the Arab World has the duty to support the Palestinians, which he called "the callers for peace", to get their legal rights in establishing the state.

"We urge the global community to sanction Iran and forbid it to back Houthi terrorists and provide them missiles", the statement said.

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

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

The Gulf states have donated large amounts of money to help refugees from the country but have not officially offered them asylum.

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