Egypt hosts emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers


Egypt on Monday hosted an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers to discuss regional developments, the policies of the new US administration, and the structure and functioning of the Arab League.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the League of Arab States, said the organization was keen to find a comprehensive and just solution to the Palestinian issue.

He told a meeting of the Arab League Council that any threat to Arab land was a threat to the entire nation, and that the region was on the threshold of a new phase.

He said the emergency meeting carried a message to the whole world, that Arab countries spoke with one voice when it came to Palestine, and that the Palestinian issue would remain at the heart of Arab concerns until it was resolved by establishing an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

He stressed the need for the international community to make this issue its priority.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry warned of any change in the status of Jerusalem and said that Cairo was working to facilitate Palestinian dialogue toward reconciliation.

He stressed the importance of the right of return of Palestinian refugees and that Egypt adhered to a Palestinian state with 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan affirmed that Arab countries were united to face the challenges.

He called on the international community to put an end to Iran's violations and threats to the region, saying the Iranian regime threatened the security and stability of Arab countries through its militias. He condemned the Houthi targeting of civilian facilities.

He urged that the countries most affected by Iran's threats be part of any future agreement, noting that Iran's nuclear activities and ballistic missiles threatened regional security.

The Saudi foreign minister welcomed the Yemeni parties' implementation of the Riyadh Agreement. He emphasized the Kingdom's adherence to a Palestinian state with 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that the two-state solution was the only way to end the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

“The Palestinian issue is the first central issue for the Arabs and is the key to a just and comprehensive peace,” Safadi added. “It highlights the need for direct Arab action to support (our) brothers and achieve peace, especially with the start of a new American administration and the new gestures it announced.”

The assistant secretary-general of the Arab League, Hossam Zaki, said the body’s general secretariat had received notes from the permanent delegations of Jordan and Egypt requesting that the emergency meeting be held.

The General Secretariat of the Arab League said the notes referred to developments requiring a comprehensive position that achieved protection for national security, served common interests, strengthened common solidarity and reaffirmed Arab constants on the Palestinian issue.

Arab sources said earlier that the meeting of Arab foreign ministers would issue a decision submitted by Egypt and Jordan stressing the need to adhere to the two-state solution and obliging all Arab countries to provide support to Palestine.

The decision will demand the Israeli side to respond to the Arab peace initiative through the immediate resumption of peace talks.