Arab League Summit commences in Mecca amid ‘exceptional challenges’

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The Arab League Summit has commenced on Thursday, with the attendance of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and several Arab leaders at the al-Safa Palace in Mecca.

The summit started with a word from Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, who said that recent developments in the region require joint coordination among Arab states, adding that the latest attacks on the UAE and Saudi Arabia threaten the security of the region and global trade.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said that the emergency summit happened due to “exceptional challenges” that the region is facing, adding that Saudi Arabia’s hand is extended to cooperate with the countries of the region, including the Iranian people, to promote development.

From his side, the Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit voiced a message that “Arabs do not turn others into enemies but they also do not accept injustice,” adding that “Houthi militias have crossed the red line.”

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi linked the security of the Gulf to his country’s national security. “All means should be used to deter the perpetrators of the attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf,” he said.

Following Sisi's speech, King Abdulla II of Jordan reaffirmed that the security of the Gulf states is a fundamental pillar of the region's stability.

Speaking from a “difficult experience,” Iraqi President Barham Salih said that the region is witnessing a crisis that foretells a war that will “destroy everything,” adding that the principle of non-interference in internal affairs needs to be respected.

Affirming Salih’s words, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah expressed fear that the escalation facing the region will add to “previous wounds.”

In his speech, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the concept of 'Peace to Prosperity' to solve the Palestinian issue, referring to the economic workshop hosted in Bahrain in cooperation with the United States to overture the latter's plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Sudan's head of the Transitional Military Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, announced that his country seeks democratic elections involving all political factions. He also reiterated Khartoum’s support for the Palestinian people and peace in Syria and Libya.

“This gathering in Mecca is a gathering of unity, faith and wisdom,” said Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in his speech.

The emergency summit came after drone strikes on oil installations in Saudi Arabia and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

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