Palestine and Iran: Arab leaders declare their top priorities

Palestine and Iran: Arab leaders declare their top priorities
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Arab League leaders pose for a family photo during the 29th Arab League Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on April 15, 2018. (Saudi Royal Palace photo/Bandar Al-Jaloud)
Palestine and Iran: Arab leaders declare their top priorities
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King Salman criticized the US decision to transfer its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as Arab leaders met in Dhahran for the annual summit. (Reuters)
Palestine and Iran: Arab leaders declare their top priorities
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Saudi King Salman (C) welcoming UAE's Vice President Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (L) ahead of the 29th Arab League Summit in Dhahran. (Saudi Royal Palace photo/Bandar Al-Jaloud)
Updated 16 April 2018

Palestine and Iran: Arab leaders declare their top priorities

Palestine and Iran: Arab leaders declare their top priorities
  • Houthi militias blamed for continuous war and suffering in Yemen
  • Iran’s blatant interference in affairs of Arab countries condemned

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia: Leaders gathered at the Arab summit stressed the centrality of the Palestinian cause and their support for the Palestinian people in their struggle to have an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The leaders also stressed the importance of uniting Arab efforts in the fight against terrorism and to confront Iran’s expansionist ambitions in the Arab region.

In his opening remarks, King Salman named the current Arab League Summit the “Jerusalem Summit” in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

He also announced the dedication of $50 million to UNRWA and $150 million to the Islamic Endowment Support Program in Jerusalem, saying: “The Palestinian issue will remain our top issue until all Palestinians get their legal right to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

“As we reiterate our condemnation and rejection of the American administration’s decision concerning Jerusalem, we commend the international consensus that rejects it, and we affirm that East Jerusalem is an inalienable part of the Palestinian territory.

“On Yemen, we affirm our commitment to Yemen’s unity, sovereignty, independence, security and territorial integrity.

“We hold the terrorist Iranian-allied Houthi militants fully responsible for the continuous war and suffering in Yemen. We welcome the UN’s statement that denounced the launching of the 119 Iranian-made ballistic missiles by the Houthi militants toward Saudi cities, three of which were targeting Makkah, proving to the international community once again the dangers of Iranian behavior in the region, its violation of the principles of international law and its disrespect of the values, ethics and principles of good neighborliness, and we call for a decisive UN position on this issue.”

King Salman added: “One of the most serious challenges facing our world today is the challenge of terrorism that has allied with extremism and sectarianism to produce internal conflicts that have affected many Arab countries. 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.

“Based on our belief that the Arab national security is an integral and indivisible system, we have presented you with an initiative to deal with the challenges facing the Arab countries under the title ‘Strengthening Arab National Security to Face Common Challenges,’ stressing the importance of developing the Arab League and its system.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said his country made every effort during its presidency of the Arab Summit, and in coordination with Arab leaders, to face the historical challenges of the Arab nation and harness all possibilities and international relations to serve the just causes of our Arab nation, especially the Palestinian cause and Holy Jerusalem.

King Abdullah praised the “positive developments and the victory that the Iraqi brothers achieved against Daesh terrorist organization ... we emphasize the need to complement the military victory with a political process that involves all components of the brotherly Iraqi people.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for the adoption and support of the peace plan he put forward last February in the UN Security Council, which is based on the Arab initiative. It calls for convening an international peace conference in 2018 and for the admission of the State of Palestine as a full member of the UN.

Abbas added: “The current US administration broke international laws by its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and has made itself a party to the conflict instead of a mediator for its solution, making talk of a US peace plan untenable.”

Abbas stressed that the Palestinian side never refused to engage in negotiations and that “it responded to all the initiatives that were presented, and worked with the international quartet and all successive US administrations down to the current one. We met with President Trump several times and waited [for the current administration] to present its plan for peace, but its recent decision constituted a major setback which was rejected by the majority of the world.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi affirmed absolute confidence in the wisdom of King Salman in supporting the joint Arab action mechanism, stressing that some regional countries are trying to establish areas of influence in the Arab countries.

As for the Yemeni crisis, El-Sisi said that Egypt is committed to working toward achieving a political solution in Yemen, stressing that Egypt would not tolerate the bombing of Saudi Arabia by some Yemeni elements. El-Sisi added that the army of a foreign state is currently present on the territories of two Arab countries.


MUVI opens drive-in cinema in Riyadh

MUVI opens drive-in cinema in Riyadh
Updated 40 min 19 sec ago

MUVI opens drive-in cinema in Riyadh

MUVI opens drive-in cinema in Riyadh

RIYADH: The homegrown chain MUVI Cinemas opened a pop-up movie theater in Riyadh, which the company claims is Saudi Arabia’s first drive-in since the nationwide ban on cinemas was lifted in 2018.
The pop-up can accommodate up to 150 vehicles while maintaining social distancing measures, organizers said. Audience members will be required to wear facemasks and have their temperatures checked in accordance with recommended measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. Food and drinks are available to be consumed in visitors’ cars. “MUVI Cinemas is strictly applying all the precautionary measures to ensure a safe environment for our employees and customers,” MUVI’s marketing director, Mahmoud Mirza, told Arab News, adding no decision had yet been made on how long the pop-up would remain open.
According to Mirza, the initial response from the public suggests the drive-in concept will prove as popular in the Kingdom as it has recently in other parts of the Middle East, including Dubai and Beirut, as a way to allow customers to watch movies on the big screen while protecting themselves against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Riyadh resident Arwa Al-Numair told Arab News that she was looking forward to trying out the drive-in for herself, having seen photographs of it on social media.
“It looks so cool. Just like it does in the movies and on TV. It’s so retro, and a great way to safely see movies during the pandemic,” she said. “I’m overly cautious, so I was very worried about visiting a cinema. But being able to see a movie without even having to leave my car makes me feel more comfortable about taking my family out to see a film.”
Ismaeel Al-Assem, another Riyadh resident, recalled his experiences of visiting drive-in cinemas in the Eastern Province in the early 1970s, before the nationwide cinema ban.
“I remember going to the drive-in on weekends with my friends, getting French fries and burgers from one of the stands and having to listen to the audio via a hose-like cable that you could pull into your car. At the time it was the very height of cool,” he said. “It’s exciting to see them being brought back again. I would definitely like to go and see what’s changed, what’s improved, and what feels the same.”
Mirza said that now is the ideal time to attend a drive-in cinema in the Kingdom. “Drive-in cinemas require many aspects to succeed. One important factor is the weather, and with Riyadh’s weather nowadays, it is a perfect fit to complete an outstanding experience,” he explained, adding that MUVI is considering opening similar temporary venues across the Kingdom.
“Having pop-up cinemas isn’t new to MUVI Cinemas,” he continued. “We shall continue offering such experiences to expand our reach and create happy moments for our audience, be it inside our sites and theaters or outside.”
Mirza also revealed that MUVI plans to open 15 new cinemas in Saudi Arabia this year, adding more than 150 screens to its roster. “New sites will be added to those in current cities, and introduced to new cities, such as Taif, Buraidah and Onaizah,” he said.