King departs for Saudi Arabia to take part in Arab Summit

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On Dec. 6, 2017, Trump announced his official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and instructed the relocation of the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed holy city, which promptly triggered fury and condemnation throughout the Arab world.

A source from the Arab League told Asharq Al-Awsat that the kings, presidents and leaders of 17 countries will attend the summit.

The 29 Arab League Summit is scheduled to kick off in the Saudi city of Dhahran on April 15, 2018.

The Saudi King also presented the kingdom's initiative and willingness to deal with the challenges that the Arab national security is facing. Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani headed Qatar's delegation at last year's Arab summit in Jordan. They were received by Prince Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, governor of Eastern Region; Prince Ahmed bin Fahad bin Salman, deputy governor, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, secretary general of the Arab League, and a number of officials.

The AL chief also slammed Iran for its support for the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, saying the Arab states should unite with Saudi Arabia against Iran.

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The provision accused Iran of interfering in Arab countries' affairs.

King Salman, who travels rarely because of his declining health, said: "We reiterate our rejection of the U.S. decision on Jerusalem".

"The Saudis are going to push for a much harsher stance on Iran - not necessarily on the nuclear dossier per se, but on Iranian influence in the Arab countries, particularly Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen", said Karim Bitar of the Paris-based Institute of global and Strategic Affairs.

"We renew our optimism of the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and his great efforts to ensure a strong Arab role, a unified position and a clear message that the worldwide community understands, appreciates and responds to", HM the King added.

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