Arab Leaders Gather for King Salman’s Invitation

Mekkah, MINA – Arab leaders gathered to hold high-level summit in the holiest city for Muslims, in Makkah on Thursday night. Saudi Arabia seeks an integrated regional stance in response tension with Iran.

King Salman called for meeting after an attack on oil pumps in Saudi Arabia and sabotage of tankers off the coast of United Arab Emirates (UAE). Leaders were shown Yemeni rebel military items, such as drones, missiles and mortar shells used in conflict with Saudis.

The leaders were given a brief explanation of the weapons on display by Turkish Colonel Al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. Saudi Arabia accused Tehran of helping to arm Houthi rebels and was behind drone strikes on Saudi’s main oil pipeline earlier this month.

Earlier, Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf urged Muslim countries to face all strength and firmness. An alleged sabotage of oil tankers off the coast of the UAE and Saudi oil pipeline attacks.

“We must deal with it by all means of strength and determination,” Al-Assaf said as quoted from Dailymail.

Al-Assaf made comments at the preparatory meeting of foreign ministers from 57 countries of the Islamic Cooperation Organization (OIC) ahead of the Mecca Summit. An Iranian official attended the OIC meeting where al-Assaf spoke even though Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was not present.

Iran has denied involvement in the attack, which occurred amid rising tensions between Tehran and the United States. The crisis is rooted in Trump government’s decision to withdraw from Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers last year.

The peak coincides with the last days of the holy month of Ramadan. Saudi Arabia will try to use Makkah meeting option to send a clear and strong message to Iran, which is also an OIC member.

The first of three summits will begin with a meeting of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Thursday night. GCC meeting will soon be followed by the 22-nation Arab League emergency summit, minus Syria, whose membership remains suspended. (T/Sj/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)