Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Saudi Arabia condemns Iran in wake of missile strikes in Syria

Saudi Arabia condemns Iran in wake of missile strikes in Syria

Foreign Ministers pose for a group picture during the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers ahead of the 28th Summit of the Arab League in Riyadh on April 12, 2018.

The league also called for an worldwide probe into the "criminal" use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Saudi King Salman told leaders from across the 22-member Arab League that Iran was to blame for instability and meddling in the region.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have for decades been locked in a struggle for regional supremacy that is now being played out in proxy wars in several countries, including Yemen and Syria.

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.

As a chair of the 28th arab summit, His Majesty will deliver a speech at the opening of the summit, where Arab leaders will discuss wide-ranging issues of concern to the Arab world including latest political developments in the region.

Syria has been suspended from the organization for the past seven years over Assad's initial crackdown on protests before the uprising turned into all-out war.

The Saudi decisions reflect the Kingdom's strong support to the Palestinian cause and hopefully would lead to the realization of the dream for an independent Palestine state within the 1967 borders and Eastern Jerusalem as the capital for the future country, said OIC chief.

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However, Iran not Israel was the main topic of Salman's remarks.

"We hold the Iran-backed Houthi militias fully responsible for the emergence and continuation of the Yemeni crisis and the human suffering that has afflicted Yemen", the King Said.

Tensions have eased slightly in recent months but Qatar still only sent its representative to the Arab League to the Dhahran summit. "The military operation was necessary to protect civilians and stop chemical use".

Gulf Arab states have made massive donations to Syria but have not officially offered asylum to Syrians.

Tunisia will host the next Arab League summit in 2019.

In a joint declaration issued on conclusion of a summit in Saudi city of Dharan, the Arab leaders stressed the importance of a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East as a strategic Arab option embodied in the Arab Peace Initiative, adopted by all Arab countries at Beirut Summit in 2002.

Opening the 29th Arab League summit, the Saudi King also criticised the United States decision to transfer its embassy in Israel to Occupied Jerusalem and described "terrorism" as the biggest challenge facing Arab leaders.

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