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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

UPDATED: Arab League to meet on Iran at Saudi request: Diplomats

AFP , Sunday 12 Nov 2017
Adel Al-Jubeir
Saudi Arabia foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir (File Photo: AP)
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The Arab League will hold an extraordinary meeting next Sunday at the request of Saudi Arabia to discuss "violations" committed by Iran in the region, according to a memorandum.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates supported the Saudi request, which was also approved by Djibouti, the current chair of the pan-Arab bloc, said the document shown to AFP by diplomats on Sunday.

Tensions have been rising between Saudi Arabia and Iran, including over League members Qatar and Lebanon.

Facing off across the Gulf, the two energy-rich powers have for decades stood on opposing sides of conflicts in the Middle East.

According to the memo, the Saudi request for an Arab League meeting was based on a missile the kingdom says its air defences intercepted near Riyadh after being fired from Yemen on November 4.

A Saudi-led coalition has been battling Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen, and it has accused the Iran-backed rebels of firing the missile.

Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman later accused Iran of "direct military aggression" against the kingdom by supplying the rebels with ballistic missiles.

But Iran denied any involvement in the missile attack, with President Hassan Rouhani warning that the Islamic republic's "might" would fend off any challenge.

According to the memo, Saudi Arabia also decried what it described as "sabotage" and "terrorism" over a pipeline fire in Bahrain on Friday that temporarily halted oil supplies from its territory.

Bahrain's foreign minister blamed Iran for the fire.

"The attempt to blow up the Saudi-Bahraini pipeline is a dangerous escalation on Iran's part that aims to terrorise citizens and to harm the world oil industry," Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa wrote on Twitter.

Tehran rejected any involvement in the incident.

In its request for the meeting of Arab foreign ministers, Saudi Arabia referred to those two incidents "in addition to the violations committed by Iran in the Arab region, which undermines security and peace, not only in the Arab region, but around the globe," according to the memo.

*The story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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