King Salman: We reject move to undermine Syrian sovereignty of Golan Heights

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(L to R) Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi stand together for the group family photo with other Arab leaders during the 30th Arab League summit in the Tunisian capital Tunis on March 31, 2019. (AFP)
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Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz attends the opening session of the 30th Arab League summit in the Tunisian capital Tunis on March 31, 2019. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz attends the opening session of the 30th Arab League summit in the Tunisian capital Tunis on March 31, 2019. (AFP)
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From left, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf, attend the opening of the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia, Sunday, March 31, 2019. (AP)
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Arab leaders pose together for the group family photo with other Arab leaders during the 30th Arab League summit in the Tunisian capital Tunis on March 31, 2019. (AFP)
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Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi (C) chairs a session of the 30th Arab League summit in the Tunisian capital Tunis on March 31, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 01 April 2019
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King Salman: We reject move to undermine Syrian sovereignty of Golan Heights

  • Saudi king addresses Arab League summit in Tunis
  • Says Palestinian issue is a top priority for the Kingdom

TUNIS: Any moves to undermine Syria’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights should be rejected, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman told the Arab League summit on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump last week signed a proclamation recognizing the Golan as Israeli, less than four months after saying Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

King Salman said at the Arab League summit in Tunis that he absolutely rejects any measures that impact on Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

“We reaffirm our absolute rejection of any measures that encroach upon Syrian sovereignty over the Golan, and we stress the importance of reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis that will guarantee Syria's security, unity and sovereignty and prevent foreign intervention.”

He also reiterated Saudi Arabia’s position supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. He said the Palestinian issue was a top priority for Saudi Arabia.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said that the Golan Heights is occupied Arab land, and rejected the US decision over sovereignty of territory.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that the US decision is contrary to all international conventions. 

He also said that Iran and Turkey have "worsened some crises and created new problems," calling on Arab leaders to "unite as one force under one umbrella against the regional interventions."

Meanwhile, Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim abruptly left the Arab League summit after it opened and did not give a speech, Qatar News Agency reported. He left the Arab League summit “in protest at criticism of Turkey,” Al Arabiya reported citing news websites close to Qatar. 

Arab League spokesman Mahmoud Afifi said earlier that the 22-member bloc will aim to issue a proclamation affirming the international consensus that the Golan is occupied Syrian land.

King Salman praised the positive outcome of the Arab League Summit as he left Tunisia.  

The king also met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the summit. During the meeting, they reviewed regional developments and various efforts aimed at achieving peace and stability in the region.

In their final statement after the daylong summit, the leaders affirmed that the Golan, a strategic plateau once used to shell northern Israel, is "Syria's occupied territory."

The leaders also called on Iran to stop interfering in the internal affairs of Arab countries and condemned the Houthis' firing of missiles into Saudi Arabia.  

The annual summit also addressed the issue of readmitting Syria as a member of the Arab League, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iranian interference in Arab countries, and the war in Yemen.

The pan-Arab bloc froze Syria's membership in 2011 over a bloody government crackdown on protesters.

Many Arab countries have recently renewed ties with the government of President Bashar Assad.


Trump spoke with Abu Dhabi crown prince on Thursday: White House

Updated 19 April 2019
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Trump spoke with Abu Dhabi crown prince on Thursday: White House

  • The two leaders discussed Washington’s continued support for the UAE

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump spoke by phone on Thursday with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, the White House said in a statement.
The two leaders discussed Washington’s “continued support for the United Arab Emirates’ national defense, strengthening alliances in the region, and the impact of the Administration’s crippling sanctions on Iran,” the statement said.
“They also spoke about UAE’s contributions to the global energy markets as a reliable supplier of oil,” it said.