Emergency Arab League summit kicks off in Mecca as regional tensions mount

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An emergency Arab League summit called for by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has commenced on Thursday evening in Mecca amid rising tensions in this region, Al Arabiya TV reported.

An emergency summit of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is held in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on May 30, 2019. The Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council on Thursday called on Iran to reconsider its role in the region, Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday. In a press statement after the Gulf and Arab summits held in the Saudi city of Mecca, Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf voiced the support from the Gulf and Arab countries for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) against the recent attacks they have witnessed. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Arab emergency summit was held due to "exceptional challenges" that the region is facing, said King Salman, noting that his country would like to cooperate with the countries of the region to promote development.

Earlier this month, four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, was attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and a key oil installation was damaged in a drone strike in Saudi Arabia.

Also in this month, Yemen's Houthi rebels said they launched a drone attack on an arms depot at Najran airport in Saudi Arabia's border city of Najran.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said recent regional developments require joint coordination among Arab states, and the latest attacks threaten the security of the region and global trade.

"Arabs do not turn others into enemies, but they also do not accept injustice," said the Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, adding that "Houthi militias have crossed the red line".

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi linked the security of the Gulf to his country's national security. "All means should be used to deter the perpetrators of the attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf," he said.

King Abdullah II of Jordan reaffirmed that the security of the Gulf states is a fundamental pillar of the region's stability.

Iraqi President Barham Salih said that the region is witnessing a crisis that foretells a war that will "destroy everything," and that the principle of non-interference in internal affairs needs to be respected.

Echoing Salih's remarks, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah expressed his concern that the escalation facing the region could add to "previous wounds."

Leaders from members of the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Gulf Cooperation Council are gathering in Mecca this week in response to the intensifying situation in this region after a spike of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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