Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (R) speaks with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul Gheit (C) during the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers ahead of the 28th Summit of the Arab League in Riyadh on April 12, 2018. (Photo: AFP)
Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said during his speech at the 29th Arab Summit held in Saudi Arabia that he hopes Arab countries would push for a political solution to the Syria crisis following the recent attacks on the country by the United States, France and Britain.
Aboul-Gheit said that foreign interventions come at the expense of the Syrian people, who have paid dearly during the past seven years since the outbreak of the country’s civil war in 2011.
The US, France and the UK say that the missile strikes on Syria come in retaliation for the alleged use of chemical weapons by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad against civilians last week.
Aboul-Gheit called for an end to foreign intervention in Syria, expressing his "dismay over the deterioration of the Syrian crisis."
"I hope the Arab states will be able to formulate a joint strategy that will help push for a political solution based on the Geneva process and resolution 2254, sparing Syrian blood in turn and restoring the hope of building a new homeland on the ruins of what has been destroyed," Aboul-Gheit said in his speech.
The Arab League chief also spoke about "Iranian interventions" that have targeted Yemen, threatening Saudi Arabia's southern borders.
Aboul-Gheit called on Arabs to speak "with one voice to condemn such interventions in order to restore stability in Yemen.”
During the past months, Houthi fighters in Yemen have fired ballistic missiles across the Saudi border on several cities including Mecca, which have been intercepted by Saudi air defences.
Saudi Arabia has been leading a military-coalition in Yemen to fight the Iran-supported Houthi groups that oppose the Yemeni government.
Iran has dismissed the allegations that it supports the Yemeni rebels.
"The Iranians have benefited from the fragility of the Yemeni situation and turned against the constitutional legitimacy," Aboul-Gheit said on Sunday.
On the Palestinian issue, Aboul-Gheit said Arab efforts have succeeded in taking a firm stand against the December decision by the US to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, describing the American decision as a "regression in our Palestinian cause."
The Arab League chief affirmed his confidence in Arab leaders in supporting the Arab League, which he described as the "house of Arabs, which needs financial support for effective movement on different issues."
The Arab leaders are expected to pass resolutions on various regional issues that affirm previously declared stances.
The summit will offer an opportunity for Arab leaders to hold smaller meetings on the sidelines to discuss and coordinate on a wide range of issues, including how to move forward on Syria, how to handle the tense situation in Gaza, and what to do about Libya.