Saudi king seeks Arab unity on Iran, Jerusalem

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Al-Jubeir had lambasted USA decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem town saying the move will hamper the global efforts to end Arab-Israel conflict in Middle East.

The final statement released by the league declared the move "null and illegitimate".

Saudi Arabia, which is hosting the yearly summit in the Eastern Province city of Dhahran, is likely to seek Arab support to pile the pressure on Iran, analysts say.

A seat marked "Syrian Arab Republic" sat empty in the hall.

Instead, the king focused on rivalries with long-time foe Iran - only 160 kilometres (100 miles) across the Gulf from Dharan.

In this regard, we reiterate our strong condemnation of the terrorist acts carried out by Iran in the Arab region and reject its blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Arab countries.

And despite being a stalwart ally of the United States, the ruler also criticised US President Donald Trump's controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and shift the US embassy there.

"We reiterate our rejection of the USA decision on Jerusalem", Salman said.

The President briefed el-Sisi on the vision he had presented before the UN Security Council in which he stressed the need for a multi-lateral global peace conference that calls for the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

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"There is no contradiction with having very strong strategic ties with the USA while telling your friends where their policy should change", Jubeir said in response to a question by AFP.

Minister Awad who reached Saudi Arabia on Thursday attended the preparatory meeting on Friday ahead of the Summit.

Today, in Saudi Arabia, I spoke about this - and about the other regional crises - with the UN Special Envoy Staffan del Mistura and with many of our regional interlocutors: Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the King of Jordan Abdullah II, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, the Foreign Ministers of Iraq Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, of Kuwait Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabahand of Morocco Nasser Bourita, the Secretary Generals of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, and of the African Union, Moussa Faki.

The two regional titans back opposing sides in a range of hotspots across the Middle East, including Lebanon and Syria and in Saudi Arabia's southern neighbor Yemen.

Tunisia will host the next Arab League summit in 2019.

In February, Russia vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have expressed concern over Iran's failure to block supplies of missiles to Yemen's Huthi rebels.

The summit also comes with Saudi Arabia and Qatar locked in a monthslong diplomatic standoff, with Riyadh accusing Doha of supporting extremists and being too close to Iran. Syria has been suspended from the pan-Arab body since 2011 over the regime's actions in the war.

Saudi officials have welcomed Malaysia's participation in Gulf Shield 1, the biggest joint military exercise in the Arab region.

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