Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait and Jordan hold Arab security talks

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, (second left) with foreign ministers from other Arab countries at the talks in Jordan. (AFP)
Updated 01 February 2019

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait and Jordan hold Arab security talks

  • The meeting covered the goal of achieving “security and stability in the interest of Arab benefit.” 
  • The six-hour talks were “positive, constructive”

AMMAN: Top diplomats from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan concluded talks on Thursday aimed at coordinating policy on the multiple conflicts gripping the region.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the ministers “exchanged views on regional issues and ways of cooperation to overcome regional crises.” He said the meeting was “positive and productive.”

The meeting at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Center on the Dead Sea also covered the goal of achieving “security and stability in the interest of Arab benefit.” 

The six-hour talks were “positive, constructive, and allowed a wide dialogue with an open agenda on the developments in the region and ways to face common challenges and enhance cooperation and coordination to serve Arab issues and interests,” Safadi said.

He described the meetings as a “consultation between brothers and friends.”

The meeting was attended by Sameh Shoukri of Egypt, Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah of Kuwait, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of the UAE, Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa of Bahrain and the Kingdom’s Adel Al-Jubeir. 

“The meeting was aimed at finding ways of bringing Syria back to the Arab fold,” former Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Mamdouh Abadi told Arab News, adding that the focus had been the future of Syria not Iran.

But a former Jordanian royal adviser, Adnan Abu Odeh, said the Syria issue was complicated. “Everyone is thinking now of bringing Syria back to the Arab League and the rebuilding efforts in Syria. But the Syrians threw a monkey wrench into the process when they signed a long-term agreement with Iran regarding economic cooperation and the rebuilding of Syria,” he told Arab News.

Former Jordanian Minister Asma Khader said the aim of such meetings was reaching a consensus on difficult issues.

The Dead Sea six-party meeting did not have any Palestinian representation, for example. 

“While the event was held on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea it would have been more productive if a Palestinian official was invited,” she told Arab News. “Any meeting without Palestinians will not be able to confront the biggest regional challenge of the Palestinian cause. Ordinary Arabs are supportive of Iran and Turkey precisely because of their position on the Palestinian issue.”

The foreign ministers also met Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who urged “the importance of coordinating Arab positions on regional issues,” according to the royal court.


Troops halt Lebanese ‘revolution bus’ over security concerns

Lebanese anti-government protesters flash victory signs as they head to the south of Lebanon on a 'revolution' bus from central Beirut on November 16, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 17 November 2019

Troops halt Lebanese ‘revolution bus’ over security concerns

  • The protest convoy is aiming to reach Nabatieh and Tyre, two cities that have challenged Hezbollah and the Amal Movement in southern Lebanon during weeks of unrest

BEIRUT: A Lebanese “revolution bus” traveling from north to south to unite protesters was halted by troops outside the city of Sidon on Saturday.
The army set up a road block to prevent the bus and a large protest convoy entering Sidon, the third-largest city in the country.
Local media said that the decision had been made to defuse tensions in the area following widespread protests.
Lebanese troops blocked the Beirut-South highway at the Jiyeh-Rumailah checkpoint over “security concerns,” a military source told Arab News.
“Some people in Sidon objected to the crossing of the bus and we feared that problems may take place,” the source added.
A protester in Ilya Square in Sidon said: “Those who do not want the bus to enter Sidon should simply leave the square because there are many who want to welcome the bus.”
The army allowed the bus to enter the town of Rumailah, 2 km from Sidon. “The bus will stop here after nightfall because of security fears and the risk of an accident,” the military source said.
The protest convoy is aiming to reach Nabatieh and Tyre, two cities that have challenged Hezbollah and the Amal Movement in southern Lebanon during weeks of unrest.
Activists said the protest bus “is spreading the idea of a peaceful revolution by unifying the people.”
“The pain is the same from the far north of Lebanon to the south and the only flag raised is the Lebanese flag,” one activist said.
Organizers of the protest convoy rejected claims that the cities of Sidon, Nabatieh and Tyre were reluctant to welcome the bus, and voiced their respect for the Lebanese army decision.

After leaving Akkar the bus passed through squares that witnessed protests in Tripoli, Batroun, Jbeil, Zouk Mosbeh, Jal El Dib and Beirut. Protesters chanted “Revolution” and lined the route of the convoy, turning it into a “procession of the revolution.”
The bus paused in Khalde, where the first victim of the protests, Alaa Abu Fakhr, was shot and killed a few days ago by a Lebanese soldier. The victim’s widow and family welcomed the convoy and protesters laid wreaths at the site of the shooting.
Activists’ tweets on Saturday claimed that life in Beirut’s southern suburbs is as difficult as in other areas of Lebanon.
“As a Shiite girl living in the heart of the southern suburbs, I deny that we are living well and not suffering. We are in a worse position than the rest of the regions,” said an activist who called herself Ruanovsky.
“No one is doing well,” said Wissam Abdallah. “The suburbs have external security and safety, but unfortunately there is a lot of corruption. There are forged car van plates, motorcycle mafia, Internet and satellite mafia, royalties mafia, and hashish and drugs mafia. Municipalities have to deal with these things as soon as possible.”