Saudi King Salman at GCC Summit: Iran actions threaten regional, global security
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman told an emergency Gulf Arab meeting on Thursday that Iran’s development of nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities threatened regional and global security.
He said Tehran’s actions threatened international maritime trade and global oil supplies in a “glaring violation of UN treaties,” following attacks this month on oil tankers off the United Arab Emirates and on oil pumping stations in the Kingdom.
"We will work together to face all challenges... The Iranian regime has been interfering in other countries' affairs, developing their nuclear programs and threatening international navigation," King Salman said during his speech.
King Salman added that Iran has been threatening security in the region for four decades, stating that not taking a stand against its activities has led to its transgressions.
He added that Saudi Arabia is keen on the security and stability of the region, and to avoid the horrors of war, and that "the Kingdom's hand will always be extended to peace."
Following the King's speech, the GCC's Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani said that the Gulf summit is taking place under "a regional situation that foresees serious risks."
The final communique of the GCC Summit condemned attacks by the Houthi militias on oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia, emphasizes the need for Iran to abide by international laws and charters, and stipulates that Tehran must stop its support and funding of the Houthis.
It also calls on the Iranian regime to be wise and stop fostering sectarian conflicts.
Arab unity urged
The first of three summits kicked off on Thursday with the aim of addressing Iranian threats and tensions following the sabotage of Saudi oil tankers off the UAE coast, a rocket strike near the US Embassy in Baghdad, and a coordinated drone attack on Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi militia.
A day earlier, Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf told a gathering of his counterparts in Jeddah that the recent attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE must be addressed with “strength and firmness.”
“Tehran’s support for Houthi rebels in Yemen is proof of Iranian interference in other nations’ affairs and this is something that... Islamic countries should reject,” al-Assaf said during the ministerial meeting of regional foreign ministers in Jeddah.
King Salman had called for the emergency Gulf and Arab League summits in conjunction with the 14th Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit set to take place on Friday.
During the day, analysts who spoke to Al Arabiya said they were expecting a tougher stance on Iran to be taken by the Arab League, especially after the attacks on the Gulf.
While it is expected we will see a strong consensus among the Gulf Arab nations, the emergency Arab League summit will go further in taking the Iranian issue seriously as they come to realize and accept that the security of the Arabian Gulf affects the security and stability of the entire region.
“While we expect to see a strong consensus among the Gulf Arab nations, the emergency Arab League summit will go further in taking the Iranian issue seriously as they come to realize and accept that the security of the Arabian Gulf affects the security and stability of the entire region,” Ammar Ali Hassan, a political sociology researcher, told Al Arabiya.
“I believe that the Arab world has been affected by Iran through Tehran’s complete presence in Syria, and in Bahrain, Iraq, and Yemen also. The Arab world has to take a decisive stance. The Gulf countries are mostly allied in their stance, but it has no choice but to stand against the threats they face,” Saudi writer Mohammed al-Saaed told al Arabiya.
The Iranian threat was on full display for the Arab leaders visiting Mecca for the summits. Upon their arrival in Jeddah, each delegation was shown remnants of destroyed drones and missiles fired by the Houthi militias on Saudi territories.
While the two summits on Thursday focused on the Iranian threat, the final summit on Friday will be hosted by the OIC and bring together 57 Islamic nations and will largely focus on the question of Palestinian statehood.