Arab Summit Starts 29th session in Dhahran
The Arab Summit started today its 29th ordinary session at King Abdulaziz International Cultural Center in Dhahran.
At the outset of the summit, verses from the Holy Quran were recited.
King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussain of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the President of the previous Arab Summit, delivered a speech in which he expressed his thanks to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for the warm reception and generous hospitality.
Then the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques assumed the presidency of the 29th ordinary session of the Arab Summit.
Then, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz delivered a speech in which he welcomed all attendees in their second country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, wishing the summit every success.
"I thank King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for his distinct efforts during his chairing the previous session. I also thank the Secretary General and all staff of the Arab League for their great efforts," the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques said.
"The Palestinian Cause is our first issue and will remain so until the Palestinian people obtain all their legitimate rights, particularly the establishment of an independent state with East Al-Quds as its capital," King Salman added.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques reiterates condemnation and rejection of the United States Administration's decision on Jerusalem, lauding the international consensus rejecting the US decision.
"We emphasize that East Al-Quds is an integral part of the Palestinian territory," King Salman affirmed.
On Yemen, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques affirms commitment to Yemen's unity, sovereignty, independence, security and territorial integrity.
We also support all efforts aimed at reaching a political solution to the crisis in Yemen, in accordance with the GCC initiative and its executive mechanism, the outcomes of Yemen's Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference and UN Security Council Resolution No. 2216.
We call upon the international community to work towards preparing all means to deliver humanitarian aid for the various areas of Yemen.
We hold the Iran-backed Houthi militias fully responsible for the emergence and continuation of the Yemeni crisis and the human suffering that has afflicted Yemen.
We welcome the statement issued by the Security Council, which strongly condemned the launching of Iran-made ballistic missiles by the Houthi militia on Saudi cities.
Three of these missiles, by now numbered 119, targeted Makkah, Muslims holiest place, proved again to the international community the danger of Iranian behavior in the region, its violation of the principles of international law and ignorance of the values, ethics and good neighborliness. We call for a decisive UN position towards it.
With regard to the Libyan case, the support of the legitimate state institutions and the adherence to the Skhirat Agreement are the basis for resolving the Libyan crisis, preserving Libya's unity, protecting it from foreign interference and eradicating violence and terrorism.
One of the most serious challenges facing our world today is terrorism which has allied with extremism and sectarianism to produce internal conflicts affecting many Arab countries.
In this regard, we reiterate our strong condemnation of the terrorist acts carried out by Iran in the Arab region and reject its blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Arab countries.
We condemn its hostile attempts aimed at destabilizing security and spreading sectarian sedition, considered a threat to Arab national security and a flagrant violation of the principles of international law.
As we believe that the Arab national security is an integral and indivisible system, we have presented to you an initiative to deal with the challenges facing the Arab countries, titled "Enhancing Arab National Security to Face Joint Challenges", stressing the importance of developing the Arab League and its system.
We also welcome the consensus on holding the Arab Cultural Summit, hoping that it will contribute to the advancement of the Arab-Islamic culture.
In conclusion, I assure you that our Arab nation will be strong by its men and women and ambitious by its male and female youths in spite of any circumstances. We ask Allah Almighty to achieve the security, stability and prosperity of our peoples in order to reach a worthy position of our nation in the world.
In a key speech, King Abdullah II of Jordan expressed deep appreciation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the gracious hospitality and warm welcome.
He also extended thanks to the AL Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit and the staff of the Arab League for their efforts during Jordan’s presidency of the 28th Arab Summit, and their work to follow up its decisions and recommendations.
"Last year, we had the honor and the responsibility of assuming the presidency of the Arab Summit. We reaffirmed the need to bolster and activate joint Arab action, and adopted comprehensive and lasting peace as a strategic Arab option in accordance with international law, relevant UN resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative", King Abdullah II said.
"During our presidency, we exerted all possible efforts, in direct, close coordination with our brethren, Arab leaders, to meet the historical challenges facing our nation. Working jointly, we harnessed all our capabilities and international ties in the service of the just causes of our nation, foremost of which are the Palestinian cause and the holy city of Al-Quds," he added.
The Jordanian King reaffirmed the eternal rights of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and Christians to Al-Quds, which is the key to peace in the region and must be the cornerstone for achieving a comprehensive solution that guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 parallel with East Al-Quds as its capital, based on the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative.
"Our Palestinian brothers seek peace, and their commitment to the two-state solution and to rejecting violence is an unequivocal testament to their unwavering commitment to peace. It is our collective duty to stand with them and to support their steadfastness in their struggle to gain their legitimate rights to independent statehood, and to living in peace and security," he added.
"It is our duty and our shared responsibility as an Arab group, and it is the duty of the international community to provide the necessary support for Palestinian refugees, and to work towards enabling the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to continue to provide its humanitarian and social services until a fair and just solution is reached to the cause of refugees. Any obstruction of the vital services of UNRWA will negatively impact over 5 million Palestinian refugees in the region," he said.
With regard to the situation in Iraq, the Jordanian King commend the efforts exerted by Iraqi authorities for the positive developments and their victory over the Daesh terrorist group, congratulating Iraq and affirming support for Iraq in defeating the khawarej (outlawed). He also stressed the importance of building on this military victory through an inclusive political process.
"With regards to the Syrian crisis, we have supported all initiatives to push the political process forward and ensure de-escalation on the ground such as the Astana, Vienna, and Sochi talks as part of the ongoing pursuit for a political solution that involves all components of the Syrian people, maintains the territorial integrity of Syria, and guarantees the safety of its citizens and the return of refugees. We have affirmed that these efforts support the Geneva track, and do not replace it," he added.
"We reaffirm our commitment to good neighborly relations, and we believe that shared regional interests require countering any attempts to intervene in the internal affairs of Arab states, instigate strife and sectarian conflict, or threaten their security in any shape or form," King Abdullah II said.
"Our Arab group must step up diplomatic efforts with all regional and international organizations to take on the mounting challenges facing our Arab world. And we stress the importance of devising a comprehensive action plan to bolster cooperation and coordination with these organizations," he concluded.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud named the 29th Arab Summit the "Summit of Al-Quds" so that those far and near would know that Palestine and its people are in the hearts of all Arabs and Muslims.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also announced a donation of $150 million for a program supporting the Islamic endowments in Al-Quds.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also announced a donation of $50 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's delegation to the summit was led by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defense.
Then, Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul-Gheit delivered a speech in which he thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for the warm reception and good hospitality accorded to the guests.
He affirmed the importance of concerted efforts among the Arab states to address challenges facing the region.
He highlighted the situations in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, pointing out that the Iranian interference in the Arab internal affairs reached an unprecedented level.
The Secretary General affirmed that the Iran-backed Houthi missile attacks threaten the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's security and the neighboring countries.
For his part, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen affirmed that the Islamic religion is a religion of love, mercy, brotherhood, tolerance and coexistence.
He confirmed that the Arab issues represent a priority for the OIC, adding that the OIC issued resolutions and statements denouncing Houthi missile attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Al-Othaimeen also highlighted the OIC stances with regard to the situations in Palestine, Syria, Yemen and Libya.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki delivered the commission's speech where he conveys the leaders of the Commission Member States' greetings and appreciation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defense.
He also expressed his thanks to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Secretary General of the Arab League for inviting the African Union Commission to this Arab meeting, considering the invitation as a renewal of the historic partnership between Africa and the Arab world.
He said: "From this point, we are required to prepare for the fifth Arab-African summit which will be held in Riyadh next year".
In his own name and on behalf of the Commission members, Faki expressed thanks to the governments of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their continuous support for the efforts of the five Sahel countries.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini delivered a speech in which she expressed her appreciation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its efforts in serving Arab causes, including hosting the summit, which is held at a sensitive time.
She affirmed the importance of developing solutions and dealing with the crises in many Arab regions so that people can live in peace and stability.
Mogherini condemned the Syrian regime's displacement of its people and attacking them with chemical weapons.
She praised the determination and courage of the Iraqi people in eliminating Daesh terrorist organization.
With regard to the Palestinian issue, she announced the readiness to host the sixth meeting on Jerusalem (Al-Quds) in cooperation with the Arab League, stressing that the EU will not stop working to reach a two-state solution through negotiations with the United Nations, the United States and the Russian Federation as well as all concerned parties and Arab countries.
Then, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Emir of the State of Kuwait delivered a speech in which he affirmed that it is necessary to double efforts in order to solve differences in the Arab world; a challenge that is weakening us and giving leverage to those who wish us harm.
He called for addressing deficiencies marring the Arab joint action through invigorating recommendations and resolutions.
"Through its non-permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council, my country; Kuwait, will relentlessly work to defend Arab causes, as well as contribute in re-activating the role of the Council in lessening impacts of such inactivity. You might have followed such efforts, which led to the unanimous adoption of resolution 2401 regarding recent developments in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, which unfortunately was hindered due to recent escalations," Sheikh Sabah said.
"The now eight-year-long conflict in Syria, which led to a humanitarian crisis, makes hearts bleed, as it reveals the unfortunate incapacity and double-standardness of the international community in dealing with this file. Such community condemns, and might take some measures for a sporadic explosion here or there. However, at the same time, stands helpless to denounce or take action in favor of hundreds of thousands of killed, injured and displaced people in Syria," he added.
"Thus, Kuwait has not, and will not, hesitate to fulfill its humanitarian obligations in regards to helping the brotherly Syrian people in their plight." On the latest developments on the ground, the Kuwaiti Emir said, "We have been following; with utmost concern, the latest air strikes, which came as a deterrent for the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. We reiterate that these developments, once again, took place because of the United Nations Security Council's inability to reach a political solution of the conflict in Syria.
On Iraq, the Emir of Kuwait congratulated the Iraqi people on liberating all of their territories from the so-called organization, "Daesh," noting that Kuwait had organized the successful international conference for rebuilding Iraq.
Sheikh Sabah condemned missile attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from Yemen, praising role of the states participating in the coalition for restoring legitimacy to Yemen, namely their role in tackling difficult humanitarian conditions in the troubled country.
He expressed deep distress at Washington's decision to transfer its embassy from Tel Aviv to Al-Quds in violation of international legitimacy resolutions.
For his part, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain, delivered a speech in which he expressed thanks to and appreciation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Chairman of the current session of the Arab Summit, for the warm reception and generous hospitality, affirming that King Salman’s wise leadership will consolidate Arab countries’ international presence and enable them to work effectively and constructively with allies and friends as essential parties that determine the course of the regional and global challenges they face, particularly foreign interference and ambitions, which requires more solidarity and cooperation to unify the Arab entity and ensure its security and stability.
King Hamad affirmed thatthe Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's holding the presidency of this Arab Summit at this critical phase will benefit all our countries, which will make them, God willing, able to move forward to promote joint action and preserve Arab national security, stressing that the cooperation among brothers will preserve Arab countries’ capabilities, and ensure their security and stability in order to be able to repel repeated foreign interference in their domestic affairs and to rearrange the situation in the region back to normal, safeguard our interests and maintain the security and stability of our peoples.
He addressed the leaders of the Arab countries saying "Bahrain always appreciates your courageous supportive stances represented in rejecting and condemning external interferences that affect the internal affairs of our country, and which we are working on repelling and defeating".
King Hamad reaffirmed that the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and his great efforts to ensure a strong Arab role, a unified position and a clear message the international community could understand, appreciate and responds to.
He expressed appreciation of and pride in all the armed forces participating in the Gulf Shield 1 Drill, currently held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech in which he expressed his thanks to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for naming the 29th Arab Summit as the "Summit of Al-Quds", donating $150 million for a program supporting the Islamic endowments in Al-Quds and donating $50 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
He clarified that the State of Palestine proposed a peace plan at the United Nations Security Council based on the Arab Peace Initiative. He called for holding an international peace conference in 2018.
The opening session was attended by a number of princes.
Then, the leaders and heads of the delegations participating in the 29th Arab Summit held a closed-door session.
The Kingdom's official delegation to the summit included Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Interior; Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, Minister of the State and Member of the Cabinet; Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Minister of the State and Member of the Cabinet; Adel bin Ahmad Al-Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan, Minister of Finance, and Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, Minister of Culture and Information.