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Arab League backs Palestinian president’s call to restart Mideast peace talks

The Arab League Council holds its 149th session at the level of foreign ministers in Cairo on Wednesday. (SPA)
CAIRO: The Arab League Council has supported the Palestinian president’s call to hold an international conference to relaunch the
Middle East peace process.
The resolution came at the end of its 149th session at the level of foreign ministers held on
Wednesday in Cairo.
The council confirmed its support for the peace plan presented by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the Security Council on Feb. 20, and working to establish a multilateral international mechanism under the auspices of the UN to sponsor the process.
The council affirmed its rejection of the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to transfer its embassy there.
Arab foreign ministers also stressed their continued support for the constitutional legitimacy of the government in Yemen headed by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. It supported measures taken by the government aimed at normalizing the situation, ending the coup and restoring security and stability to all Yemeni governorates.
The council stressed its commitment to preserving Yemen’s unity and sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and the rejection of any interference in its internal affairs.
The session was held under the chairmanship of Minister of State for African Countries Affairs Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Qattan, and in the presence of the Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Speaker of the Arab Parliament Dr. Mishal Al-Salami.
At a press conference, Qattan said that Saudi Arabia supported the continuation of the league’s role, pointing out that Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit had been seeking, since his appointment, to reform the league’s system. He said that the upcoming Arab summit in Riyadh would be an important and historic summit.
Qattan said that Iranian interference in Arab affairs had become a source of anger, and some Arab countries did not condemn Iran adequately and did not see the harm being done to Arab national security and the security of GCC.
“We heard blame for the decision for military intervention in Yemen,” he said. “We explained at length that it came at the request of the Yemeni government, stressing that the legitimate government must return to its place.”
Qattan said that Houthi missiles targeted the Kingdom’s cities and the two holy cities, and this was a red line. The Kingdom would defend its territory, even if this need continued for years and whatever the effort and cost, until its citizens felt safe.
He said that before the league’s council session, a meeting of the quartet involving Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain had issued a statement on Iranian interventions. This included a reference to the Iranian nuclear program.
“We in Saudi Arabia and the GCC and all Arab countries that have the same position will not be silent on what is happening,” he said, pointing out that the Iranians were fighting a proxy war that had succeeded in breaking up some Arab countries and but had not succeeded in GCC states.
Qattan said that “we have no objection to dialogue with Iran as a state, not with a militia, but it must first stop interfering in our internal affairs.”
On the Syrian issue, he said that it had not abided by the Security Council’s decision, resulting in the displacement of millions and the deaths of thousands.
Secretary-General Aboul Gheit said that the Arab League was the backbone of the Arab security system, and its role in defending Arab national security was provoking some neighboring countries.

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