Arab leaders gather to unify ranks in face of conflict, wars


Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud attends the 29th Arab League Summit in Dhahran, shown in a handout picture released by the Saudi Royal Palace on April 15, 2018.

King Salman on Sunday announced a $150 million donation for the maintenance of Islamic heritage in East Jerusalem.

"We confirm that East Jerusalem is an inseparable part of the Palestinian land", Saudi King Salman said.

The move has sparked deep anger among the Palestinians - who see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state - and across the Arab world.

"The President will be addressing the the participants of the conference and during his stay (in Saudi Arabia) he will hold talks with other Arab leaders over Somalia's situation", said Ahmed.

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The summit begins 24 hours after the United States, France and Britain launched controversial air strikes in war-torn Syria in response to a reported regime chemical attack on the decimated rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta last week.

Saudi Arabia's push for a tough stand against its arch-rival Iran is expected to dominate an Arab League summit on Sunday as regional tensions grow over the wars in Syria and Yemen.

Iran has said that the Arab League should take steps towards helping restore stability in the region instead of repeating its lies and baseless allegations against Tehran.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32-year-old son of the king and de facto ruler of the world's largest exporter of oil, has said Assad will stay.

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Jordan has also advocated for reaching political solutions to the crises facing the Arab world, especially in Syria, Yemen and Libya, stop violence and bloodshed and pursue joint efforts to eradicate terrorism and to dry its sources.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose government has denied using or possessing chemical weapons, was not present at the meeting after the country was suspended from the group in 2011.

The question of Jerusalem is also likely to figure prominently at the summit as the United States prepares to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv after declaring the disputed city the capital of Israel in a break with decades of worldwide diplomacy.

Military help over the past three years from Russian Federation and Iran, which also backs Lebanon's Hezbollah group and Shi'ite Muslim militias in Iraq, has allowed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to crush the rebel threat to topple him. Doha denies the charges and says the boycott is an attempt to impinge on its sovereignty.

Tunisia will host the next Arab League summit in 2019.

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