Saudi Arabia urges Arab unity to confront Iran threat

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf attends an Arab League foreign ministerial meeting in the Tunisian capital. (SPA)
Updated 30 March 2019

Saudi Arabia urges Arab unity to confront Iran threat

  • Foreign Minister Al-Assaf warns Arab League of Tehran’s ‘blatant interference’ in Arab affairs
  • Saudi Arabia rejected US Golan move at Arab foreign minister Tunis meeting

TUNIS: The threat from Iran is the main challenge facing Arabs, Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf told other Arab foreign ministers on Friday.
“One of the most dangerous forms of terrorism and extremism is what Iran practices through its blatant interference in Arab affairs, and its militias ... the Revolutionary Guards in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, which requires cooperation from us to confront,” he said.
Arabs must work to stop Iran’s ballistic missile program, and Tehran was supplying Houthi militias in Yemen with rockets to attack Saudi cities, Al-Assaf told a meeting of foreign ministers before Sunday’s Arab League summit in Tunis.
The minister also restated Saudi support for Syria’s territorial integrity and a political solution to the civil war based on dialogue between the opposition and government, but said a unified Syrian opposition should emerge before the start of any dialogue.
Syria’s membership in the Arab League has been suspended since the Assad regime’s violent repression of protests in 2011. The US has been trying to persuade Arab Gulf states to hold off on restoring ties with Syria, although the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus at the end of last year to counter the influence of Iran. 




Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf attends an Arab League foreign ministerial meeting in the Tunisian capital. (SPA)

Tunisia, which takes over this year from Saudi Arabia in hosting the summit, will coordinate with other Arab countries in responding to the US decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui said.
“We will work with fellow Arab countries and the international community to contain the expected repercussions of this decision in various regional and international forums,” Jhinaoui said.
Arab states have condemned last week’s decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize the plateau as Israeli territory. They want Washington to retract its decision and stop other countries following suit.
Trump also angered Arabs last year by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria and Arab East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war and annexed both in moves not recognized under international law.
The foreign ministers agreed on a draft statement on the Golan to be presented to heads of state on Sunday, in preparation for it to be announced at the summit. The statement amounts to a categorical rejection of the US president’s declaration, diplomats told Arab News.
Before the summit, there was also a meeting to discuss the political process in Libya.


Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani tenders his resignation

Updated 25 min 54 sec ago

Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani tenders his resignation

  • Rabbani’s departure may not affect Ashraf’s already weak government because Rabbani was disqualified from office by Parliament three years ago
  • Part of Rabbani’s differences with Ghani surfaced openly earlier this month when Rabbani’s office welcomed Pakistani efforts regarding the Afghan peace process

KABUL: Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani tendered his resignation on Wednesday following differences with President Ashraf Ghani, who Rabbani accused of sidelining him.
His departure may not affect Ashraf’s already weak government because Rabbani was disqualified from office by Parliament three years ago, and served as acting minister on the basis of an order by the president.
Rabbani is an ally of Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who shares power with Ghani and is the president’s election rival.
Rabbani’s resignation comes weeks ahead of the possible formation of a new government if an election winner is announced.
“During my time, the working environment in the National Unity Government was not good from the start,” he wrote in his resignation letter.
“I witnessed parallel structures being created and have seen essential institutions — key pillars of the system — pushed to the side.”
The presidential palace had no immediate comment about Rabbani’s resignation or his allegations, which according to his supporters include being barred from attending conferences and events overseas that fall under his remit.
Part of Rabbani’s differences with Ghani surfaced openly earlier this month when Rabbani’s office welcomed Pakistani efforts regarding the Afghan peace process, which included a warm reception in Islamabad to a visiting Taliban delegation. The Afghan presidential palace openly opposed Pakistan’s warm welcome of the delegation.