DHAHRAN: The Arab League yesterday called for an international probe into the “criminal” use of chemical weapons in Syria and condemned Iran’s interference in the affairs of other countries.
“We stress our absolute condemnation of the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people and we demand an independent international investigation to guarantee the application of international law against anyone proven to have used chemical weapons,” the leaders said, in the communique issued after the 29th Arab Summit held in Dhahran.
They emphasised the need for a political solution to the multi-sided Syrian war.
They denounced the Syrian regime’s use of internationally banned chemical weapons against its people, and called on the international community to stand up against these practices, so as to achieve justice and uphold the humanitarian law.
- The communique also called for more international sanctions on Iran and urged it to withdraw its militias from Syria and Yemen.
“The summit condemned Iranian interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries, either through igniting sectarian strife or planting militias in Arab countries such as Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen, and harbouring Al Qaeda terrorists,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir told a news conference.
- Saudi Arabia, which takes over the rotating chair of the Arab summit from Jordan, announced that this gathering would be named the Al Quds (Jerusalem) Summit – a reference to US President Donald Trump’s decision last year to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which Arab states condemned.
Delegates pledged to support the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
King Salman said Saudi Arabia was donating $200 million to help them, including $50m for the UN Relief and Works Agency.
The final communiqué stressed the centrality of the Palestinian cause to the Arab nation, and the Arab identity of occupied East Jerusalem.
It branded the US decision recognising occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel null and void, adding that Arab nations categorically reject the idea of occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
- The Summit reaffirmed Arab support for all steps taken by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to protect themselves from foreign interference, calling on the international community to tighten sanctions on Iran and the militias it sponsors. It also called on the world community to prevent Iran from supporting terrorist organisations and providing the Houthi militia in Yemen with ballistic missiles that are being launched against Saudi cities.
- The communiqué emphasised that Arab nations support the coalition’s efforts to uphold the legitimacy of the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Yemen, and to solve the crisis facing the country based on the Gulf Initiative, and the outcomes of the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference. The summit praised the reconstruction initiatives in Yemen, and the coalition’s support for the Yemeni people.
- The final communiqué reaffirmed the UAE’s sovereignty in its three islands – Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Mousa – occupied by Iran. It called on Tehran to respond to the UAE’s initiative to find a peaceful solution to this issue, either through direct negotiations or international arbitration.
- The leaders emphasised their keenness to prevent the exploitation by terrorists of information technology and social media in recruitment, propaganda and dissemination of extremist thought and hatred that distort the image of the Islamic religion.
“We strongly condemn the attempts to link terrorism and Islam. Terrorism has no religion, no homeland and no identity. We call on the governments of all countries to shoulder their responsibilities to combat this dangerous scourge,” the communique said.
- The leaders reaffirmed their solidarity with Lebanon and their concern for its stability and territorial integrity in the face of repeated Israeli violations of its sovereignty.