Arab summit opens in Saudi Arabia

Arab summit opens in Saudi Arabia

Arab summit opens in Saudi Arabia

Seventeen leaders from across the Arab world - minus Syrian President Bashar Al Assad - gathered in the eastern Saudi city of Dhahran for the summit, which this year comes as world powers face off over Syria and tensions rise between Riyadh and Tehran.

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

Qatar did not send a senior official in a sign that its 10-month dispute with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt is still a long way from being resolved.

Saudi Arabia on Saturday declared its full support for US-led air raids on Syria, which the Pentagon said had "successfully hit every target".

"We stress our absolute condemnation of the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people and we demand an independent global investigation to guarantee the application of worldwide law against anyone proven to have used chemical weapons", said a statement distributed to journalists.

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. A state-of-the-art media center has also been set up in Al-Khobar where a giant screen has been installed to telecast live the proceedings of the summit from the venue.

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"We underline the dangerousness of the Iranian behavior in the region", he said in an opening address to the gatherers after the presidency of the summit was transferred to him from last year's holder, Jordan.

Syria's war, the most complex of the region's conflicts, is the main point of contention pitting Riyadh and its allies, who mainly back Sunni rebels, against regime backer Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.

"It is a pity that some of the member states of the Arab League ignore the historical and geographical realities and disregard the sovereignty of their neighbours", he said, adding that they do not follow a rational policy based on good neighbourliness.

Most of the 22 other countries are represented by heads of state or government. Trump publicly sided with the Saudis and Emiratis early in the crisis but is now pushing for a resolution to restore Gulf Arab unity and maintain a united front against Iran.

According to Saudi Arabia's Minister for Foriegn Affairs, Adel Al-jubeir, the top agenda of the conference will be Palestinian status. It's not a big issue. However, Iranian intervention in the Arab World especially in Yemen and Syria will dominate the proceedings of the summit.

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