Arab League accuses Iran of provocations amid Saudi row

AFP , Sunday 10 Jan 2016

Nabil al-Arabi
File photo: Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi ( Reuters)

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi accused Tehran of "provocative acts" as top Arab diplomats met Sunday for talks on Saudi Arabia's diplomatic row with Iran.

Arabi was addressing Arab League foreign ministers gathered in Cairo for emergency talks requested by Riyadh on the dispute, which erupted after Saudi Arabia executed prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Arabi called on diplomats meeting at the group's Cairo headquarters to "adopt a strong and clear common position calling on Iran to stop all forms of interference in the affairs of Arab nations".

Nimr's execution earlier this month touched off anti-Saudi demonstrations in many Shiite countries including in Iran where demonstrators sacked and set fire to the Saudi embassy.

Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Shia-dominated Tehran the day after the attack and was followed by a number of its Sunni Arab allies including Bahrain and Sudan. Other Arab countries downgraded ties or recalled their envoys to Tehran.

The dispute between the Middle East's dominant Sunni and Shia powers has raised fears of greater regional instability and concerns for peace efforts in Syria and Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and Iran support opposing sides.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, present at Sunday's talks, denounced Iranian statements "hostile to Saudi Arabia" that he said had "directly driven the attacks" on his country's diplomatic missions.


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