Arab League rejects Trump’s Israel policies at annual summit

Arab League rejects Trump’s Israel policies at annual summit

Arab League rejects Trump’s Israel policies at annual summit

In his remarks, Salman also repeats Riyadh's call for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with its capital in East Jerusalem, according to Reuters. It did not give a reason for his early departure.

The united front shown at the Tunis summit on the issue failed to mask other deep divisions inside the Arab League, as it struggles with major headaches such as a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf and conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

"We, the leaders of the Arab countries gathered in Tunisia ... express our rejection and condemnation of the United States decision to recognise Israel's sovereignty over the Golan", Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said.

Trump's Golan decision followed a USA move less than four months ago to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a decision that also drew Arab condemnation.

Held in Tunisia's capital, the 30th Arab League summit kicked off on Sunday against the backdrop of ongoing wars in Syria and Yemen, instability in Libya and mass anti-government protests in Algeria and Sudan, as well as a continuing boycott of Qatar by four fellow bloc members.

The global community, including the United States, largely shared that position until Trump upended decades of US policy by moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem a year ago and recognizing Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan earlier this month.

Arab leaders - including Salman, Essebsi and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi - also condemned US President Donald Trump's recent recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, which Israeli seized in the 1967 war.

But an appeal by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi for the region to "overcome its differences" appeared to have little impact as the Qatari ruler left prematurely. It warned other countries away from following Washington's lead.

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Summit spokesman Mahmoud Al-Khmeiry said Arab leaders would repeat an Arab call for peace with Israel in exchange for occupied Arab lands and would reject any initiative not in line with United Nations resolutions.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who also addressed the meeting in Tunis, said any resolution to the Syrian conflict must guarantee the territorial integrity of Syria "including the occupied Golan Heights".

Qatar's state news agency did not say why the Qatari emir left, but Tunisia's state news agency TAP said the rest of Qatar's delegation stayed.

The row has defied mediation efforts by Kuwait and the United States, which called Gulf Arab states to unite in opposition to Iranian influence in the region.

King Salman, whose country has long vied with Iran for influence, called for confronting what he called the "aggressive policies of the Iranian regime". He said Iran was interfering in Arab affairs, a charge Tehran dismisses.

Trump's aides have said his moves have drawn a less severe reaction privately from Arab states than experts had predicted.

The readmission of Syria back into the League, from which it was suspended from in 2011 following President Bashar al-Assad's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, was expected to be on the summit's agenda. The League has said there was still no consensus to allow Syria's reinstatement.

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