Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 September 2020

Arab League condemns Turkey and Iran

Palestinian resolution is off the table as UAE reiterates support for two-state solution

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the League of Arab States, at the opening session of the Council of the Arab League. Courtesy Arab League
Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the League of Arab States, at the opening session of the Council of the Arab League. Courtesy Arab League

Foreign ministers from Arab League countries met on Wednesday to discuss Turkish and Iranian interference in the region and the Palestinian cause.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told the meeting that Cairo “will not stand motionless in face of the Turkish greed that is especially being show in northern Iraq, Libya and Syria".

Mr Shoukry said Egypt supported Iraq “against continuous Turkish aggression into its borders” and backed measures Baghdad “is taking against these intransigent instances of interference”.

Turkey launched a major cross-border military operation into northern Iraq in May, saying it was battling Kurdish militants.

Several civilians and Iraqi border guards have been killed.

Last month, Iraqi officials cancelled a visit by Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar in protest against a Turkish drone that killed two Iraqi officers.

Assistant Arab League Secretary Hossam Zaki said Iran and Turkey were seeking to interfere in Arab affairs and looked for opportunities at the expense of Arab states.

Iraqi officials cancelled a visit by Turkey's defence minister in protest at a Turkish drone strike that killed two Iraqi officers. AFP
Iraqi officials cancelled a visit by Turkey's defence minister in protest at a Turkish drone strike that killed two Iraqi officers. AFP

The Cairo meeting on Wednesday was presided over by Palestine, as it took over the presidency of the Arab League from Oman, and was held online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

After the meeting, Mr Zaki said the Palestinian delegation presented a draft resolution that did not have the agreement of the other members.

The draft affirmed Palestinian rights and specifically referred to the August 13 peace accord between the UAE and Israel, but did not endorse it.

An amended draft resolution focused on Palestinian rights and the need for a two-state solution, without reference to the peace accord, also did not pass as no consensus was reached.

The US brokered the Abraham Accord between the UAE and Israel to normalise relations in return for a halt to Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory.

'A new momentum for peace'

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Victor Besa / The National 
Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Victor Besa / The National 

At the Arab League meeting, the UAE said it stood with the Palestinian cause but the agreement was a sovereign decision.

Its Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, said the Abraham Accord created a “new momentum for peace” and reaffirmed his country's support for the two-state solution.

“We definitely think that this is an important chance to jump on and build upon and push all the concerned parties to achieve a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict according to the agreed basis and UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative,” Dr Gargash said.

“The sovereign and strategic decision by the UAE to sign a peace accord with Israel includes, among other things, tacit Israeli approval and a US guarantee to freeze the annexation of the Palestinian land.

“From our view, this constitutes an achievement and an important step towards peace.”

Dr Gargash said the UAE’s position in support of the Palestinian cause was a hallmark of the country’s policy since it was founded “and will remain in the future".

He condemned Turkey’s activities in the region and said recent action in the Eastern Mediterranean undermined “security and safety of maritime traffic in the Mediterranean waters, in a clear violation of relevant international laws and conventions and a violation of the sovereignty of states".

Dr Gargash also spoke out against Iran's regional meddling.

"Iranian interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries continues through its support for armed militias and armed groups in some Arab countries," he said.

"And Iran continues to threaten the security and safety of maritime traffic and energy supplies in the waterways of the region."

The Arab League ministers declared their full solidarity with Sudan as it battles devastating floods, and their support for Lebanon.

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The Eastern Mediterranean dispute in pictures:

Updated: September 10, 2020 10:27 AM

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