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Saudi king denounces ‘blatant interference’ by Iran in Arab affairs

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman slammed Iran’s “blatant interference” in regional affairs as Arab leaders met in the kingdom on Sunday for an annual summit.

On Iran interference in the region, King Salman said, “We welcome the statement by the Security Council which strongly condemned the launching of Iranian-made ballistic missiles by the Houthi terrorist militias towards Saudi cities.

“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.”

The King said: “The most dangerous of what our world is facing today is the challenge of terrorism, which has allied itself with extremism and sectarianism to produce internal conflicts infused by many Arab countries.”

The meeting comes after a barrage of strikes launched by the United States, Britain and France hit targets they said were linked to chemical weapons development in Syria, which was suspended from the league seven years ago.

Saudi Arabia, which is hosting the summit in its Eastern Province city of Dhahran, is likely to seek Arab support to pile the pressure on Iran, analysts say.

But in his opening address Salman focused instead on rivalries with longtime foe Iran — only 160 kilometres (100 miles) across the Gulf from Dharan.

“We renew our strong condemnation of Iran’s terrorist acts in the Arab region and reject its blatant interference in the affairs of Arab countries,” the king said.

In his opening speech at the Arab League summit, Salman also criticised the US decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem but avoided any mention of Syria, just 24 hours after Western strikes against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

And despite being a stalwart ally of the United States, he also criticised US President Donald Trump controversial decision to transfer America’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“We reiterate our rejection of the US decision on Jerusalem,” said the king, adding that “East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories”.

 

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