Saudi Arabia pledges $200m to support Islamic endowment and international relief programs in Palestine

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Saudi King Receives Palestinian President Abbas. AN Photo ( Essa Doubisi )
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Saudi Arabia’s King received Arab leaders and heads of delegations participating in the 29th Arab League Summit at the King Abdulaziz International Cultural Center in Dhahran on Sunday. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s King received Arab leaders and heads of delegations participating in the 29th Arab League Summit at the King Abdulaziz International Cultural Center in Dhahran on Sunday. (SPA)
Updated 15 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia pledges $200m to support Islamic endowment and international relief programs in Palestine

  • King Salman announces $150m to maintain Islamic heritage in East Jerusalem
  • Arab member states reiterate rejection of US decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel

Dhahran: Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday a $150 million donation to the maintenance of Islamic heritage, namely the religious administration that oversees Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque— one of Islam’s holiest sites at the start of an Arab summit.

The Kingdom announced another $50 million for programs run by the UN relief agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) after the US slashed its aid.

King Abdullah II of Jordan opened the 29th Arab League Summit in Saudi Arabia’s Dhahran, stressing the need for a two-state solution and condemning the US’s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman also condemned the move and reiterated the Kingdom's rejection of the US decision, while emphasizing the need to have East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

Saudi Arabia, which takes over the rotating chair of the Arab summit from Jordan, announced that the current gathering would be named the “Quds (Jerusalem) Summit,” a reference to US President Donald Trump’s decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel which Arab states condemned.

"We reiterate our rejection of the US decision on Jerusalem," Salman said. "East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories."
The king said he had named this year's meeting "the Jerusalem summit so that the entire world knows Palestine and its people remain at the heart of Arab concerns".

However, the strongest criticism of the Trump administration came from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“The decisions have made the United States a party to the conflict and not a neutral mediator,” Abbas said at the summit.

Saudi King Salman told leaders from across the 22-member Arab League that Iran was to blame for instability and meddling in the region. He said Yemeni rebel Houthis, backed by Iran, had fired 116 missiles at the kingdom since Saudi Arabia went to war in Yemen three years ago to try and roll back Houthi gains there.“We renew our strong condemnation of terrorist acts carried out by Iran in the Arab region, and we reject its blatant interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries,” King Salman said in the eastern Saudi Arabian city, without giving specifics.

He called on the international community to take a strong stance against Iran’s aggression in the region, as well as the militias that are cutting off aid to war-torn Yemen.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said Assad’s government and “international players trying to achieve their own strategic political goals” bear responsibility for the crisis there.
“Regional interference in Arab affairs has reached an unprecedented degree. And first of these is the Iranian interference, the aim of which is not for the well-being of the Arabs or their interests,” he said.

Aboul Gheit added that major threats facing Arabs are all equally important and dangerous.

“Current challenges call for dialogue on priorities of Arab national security,” Aboul Gheit said.

He also said that the Syrian regime bears a great responsibility in the “collapse of its homeland and loss of dignity.”

Prior to the opening of the summit, King Salman received Arab leaders and heads of delegations participating in the 29th Arab League Summit at the King Abdulaziz International Cultural Center in Dhahran.
 


Saudi Crown Prince calls for decisive international position against Iran: interview 

Updated 6 min 3 sec ago
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Saudi Crown Prince calls for decisive international position against Iran: interview 

  • Talking to Asharq Al Awsat, Mohammad Bin Salman says Kingdom doesn’t seek war but will defend itself against threats 
  • Says killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was “painful crime” and that strategic ties with US are key to regional stability 

JEDDAH:  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday said Saudi Arabia does not seek war but will also not shy away from confronting any threats.

He called for a decisive international position against Iran and said the regime in Tehran didn’t even respect the presence of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe when it attacked two tankers, one of them carrying the Japanese flag. 

The crown prince’s comments came in an interview with Arab News’ sister publication Asharq Al Awsat.

The heir to the Saudi throne said the Kingdom will continue to support Sudan and wishes nothing but good for Yemen. However, Saudi Arabia would never accept having a militia serving the Iranian agenda at its border, he said. 

He also described the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a “very painful crime.” He added that the Kingdom seeks to achieve full justice and accountability. 

As for the Aramco IPO, the crown prince says it is expected to occur at some time between 2020 and the beginning of 2021. 

(Full transcript to follow)