Arab leaders participating in the 29th Arab Summit held in Dhahran on April 15 - Screenshot of ONTV
CAIRO – 15 April 2018: A total of 16 leaders of the Arab countries met in Dhahran, eastern Saudi Arabia, to participate in the 29th Arab League summit on Sunday.
Recent developments in the regional affairs are believed to dominate leaders' speeches during the opening session on Sunday. The escalation in Syria after the U.S.-led air strikes against military targets belonging to the Syrian regime on Saturday is also expected to be on the summit's agenda.
UN General Assembly António Guterres, African union commission chairperson Moussa Faki, and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini will attend the summit.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi headed on Saturday to Saudi Arabia to participate in the summit. In his residency in Dammam, Sisi met with head of the Presidential Council of Libya Fayez al-Sarraj, who commended the Egyptian initiatives to unify the Libyan army, namely Egypt’s initiative that kicked off in July 2017 to unify the military institutions.
Here is the live update on the summit:
Palestinian President calls on all Arab to visit Jerusalem to assert its Arabism
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrives before the start of 29th Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia April 15, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas invited the Arab countries to visit Jerusalem, asserting that is not normalization.
He stressed that Palestine is witnessing unprecedented settlement attack, aiming to displace Palestinians, occupy their territories and strip Palestine of its Arab identity. This attack is supported by current U.S. administration, which has violated the international laws when it recognized Jerusalem as Israeli capital.
King Salman donates $50 million to UNRWA for Palestinian refugees relief
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz attends the 28th Summit of the Arab League at the Ithra center in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia, on April 15, 2018. / AFP / STR
Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz said that $50 million will be given to UNRWA for the relief and employment of the Palestinian refugees. He also announced a Saudi donation of $150 million for the program of the Islamic Religious Endowments in Jerusalem, during the opening session of the 29th Arab Summit.
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain: Establishing independent state of Palestine is a necessity
Bahrain's King Hamad bin Salman Al Khalifa, arrives ahead of the 29th Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia April 15, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain said that the Palestinian issue is a priority for Bahrain, calling for the necessity for the establishment of the independent state of Palestine.
He reconfirmed his country’s support to the Palestinian people and leadership, affirming the necessity to achieve a political solution, including the establishment of the independent state of Palestine on the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital.
Sisi emphasizes alliance with KSA, rejects Yemeni elements firing of ballistic missiles at Saudi territory
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during his speech at the opening session of the 29th Arab Summit held in Dhahran on April 15 - Screenshot of ONTV
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi emphasized the Egyptian-Saudi alliance in his Sunday speech at the Arab League summit, saying “Egypt will not accept that Yemeni elements fire ballistic missiles at Saudi territory.”
Video of Sisi's speech at Arab Summit
Kuwait's Emir calls for more Arab efforts to resolve regional crises
Emir of Kuwait Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah attends the 29th Summit of the Arab League at the Ithra center in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia, on April 15, 2018. / AFP / STR
Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah IV Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah addressed Arab countries in his speech at the 29th Arab Summit, calling for concerted efforts to resolve crises facing the region.
Kuwait has been the main mediator in a near 10 month political rift between Qatar and its Gulf rivals.
African, European unions affirm peaceful solutions for Syrian crisis
Representatives of both the African and European unions tackled the Syrian crisis in their speeches during the opening session of the 29th Arab Summit, where both stressed the importance of peaceful solution to end the crisis.
During his speech, the African union commission chairperson Moussa Faki said "we demand a peaceful solution for the Syrian crisis."
African union commission chairperson Moussa Faki during his speech at the opening session of the 29th Arab Summit held in Dhahran on April 15 - Screenshot of ONTV
For Federica Mogherini, a High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, called on holding accountable those who are responsible for chemical attacks in Syria. She also reiterated "the political solution the only way to end the Syrian crisis."
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini during his speech at the opening session of the 29th Arab Summit held in Dhahran on April 15 - Screenshot of ONTV
Saudi King supports Libya's unity, holds 'terrorist Iranian-allied' Houthis responsibility for war in Yemen
Saudi King Abdel Aziz during his speech at the opening session of the 29th Arab Summit held in Dhahran on April 15 - Screenshot of ONTV
CAIRO – 15 April 2018: Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz took the floor during the opening session of the 29th Arab Summit, and renewed Saudi condemnation of the U.S. decision to consider Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel.
He said that the "Palestinian issue will remain our top issue until all Palestinians get their legal right to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital."
Speaking about Yemen, King Salman assured that Saudi Arabia supports the efforts aiming at finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Yemen, and called on the international community to support all ways to deliver humanitarian aid to different parts of Yemen.
"The terrorist Iranian-allied Houthi militants are fully responsibility for the continuous war and suffering in Yemen. We welcome the United Nations’ statement that denounced the launching of the 119 Iranian-made ballistic missiles by the Houthi militants toward Saudi cities," Salman added.
Concerning Libya, King Salman affirmed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to backing legitimate state institutions, efforts aiming at preserving the unity of Libya, preventing any foreign intervention in Libya's domestic affairs and securing it from terrorism and violence.
The 29th Arab Summit kicks off, Jordanian King stresses Palestinians' right for independent state
Jordanian King Abdullah II during his speech at the opening session of the 29th Arab Summit held in Dhahran on April 15 - Screenshot of ONTV
During the opening session of the Arab Summit, King of Jordan Abdullah II stressed on the necessity of guaranteeing the right of establishing an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.
“We have to reconfirm the everlasting rights of the Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem which is the key for peace in the region.”
Abdullah said the Arab World is obliged to support the Palestinians, whom he referred to as “the callers for peace."
After he finished his speech, King Abdullah II handed the presidency of the Arab League to Saudi King Salman Bin Abdel Aziz.
Arab leaders in trouble? How summit to tackle airstrikes in Syria.
US-led strikes on Syria targets - Reuters
Although the 29th Arab Summit is expected to see many leaders participating to discuss regional affairs, Political expert in international relations, Saeed el-Lawendy ruled out that the latest escalation in the Syrian crisis after the U.S.-led strikes on Saturday would be excessively discussed since some Arab countries are already "supporting the strikes to end Assad's regime," according to his statements to ONTV.
He further did not expect the Palestinian issue to see a new development after the summit, especially after U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, which he considered the eternal capital of Israel.
Arab leaders arrive at Arab Summit headquarters in Dhahran
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi meets with Saudi King Salman Abdel Aziz at the headquarters of the Arab Summit in Dhahran on April 15 - Screenshot of ONTV
Arab leaders and officials arrived at the headquarter of the Arab Summit held in Dharhan city in eastern Saudi Arabia.
Additional reporting by Nourhan Magdi, Marina Gamil and Amr Kandil