On behalf of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, His Highness Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmood al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers, led the Sultanate’s delegation at the 29th Arab Summit which was held at King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday.
Arab leaders pushed for an end to the devastating strife in Syria.
The head of the Arab League, Ahmed Abul Gheit, blamed the Syrian government for the continuation of Syria’s conflict now in its eighth year.
“I hope that the Arab countries will be able to formulate a joint strategy, which will contribute to pushing forward a political solution (in Syria),” Abul Gheit told the opening session of the summit here.
The US, Britain and France on Saturday launched airstrikes in Syria in response to a suspected deadly chemical attack a week ago on a rebel town near the capital Damascus. Syria and its ally, Russia, say the attack was fabricated to turn opinion against them.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sissi voiced “grave concern” at the military escalation in Syria, calling for an “international transparent investigation” into the alleged use of banned chemical weapons there.
“It is high time we moved seriously to stem the Syrian bloodshed,” Sissi told the summit.
“It is not just enough to reiterate our commitment to references of (a) political solution and the relevant (UN) Security Council resolutions, but we should also impart an unequivocal message that Syria is an Arab land whose fate and problems should be addressed according to the Syrian people’s will,” he added in a televised address.
The Dhahran conference is the first by Arab leaders since US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.
Trump’s move on Jerusalem, which houses Islam’s third holiest site, has unleashed outrage across the Muslim and Arab worlds. King Salman on Sunday denounced Trump’s decision.
“We confirm that East Jerusalem is an inseparable part of the Palestinian land.”
In a gesture of support, the Saudi King pledged $150 million for Islamic sites in Jerusalem.
In an address to the same event, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the US had lost credibility as a peacemaker after Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“Washington says it has taken the Jerusalem file off the negotiation table. This violates international law and is a precedent that we consider a major setback,” he added.
Trump’s decision on Jerusalem reversed Washington’s decades-old stance of leaving the sensitive issue to be decided in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
The summit also discussed a number of issues and topics listed on the agenda, including the secretary-general’s report on joint Arab work, the Palestinian cause and the Arab-Israeli conflict and its developments, developing the Arab League, the situation in Syria, Libya and Yemen and the fight against terrorism.
The summit also looked at the developments of the joint economic and social cooperation and decided on an Arab cultural summit and the date of the 30th Arab Summit which will be held in 2019.
The summit discussed a report on the joint Arab regarding trade and investment, besides the Arab strategy for food and water security and the Arab convention on exchanging plant resources and heritage knowledge. — Agencies