Saudi Arab League Summit

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He condemned the U.S. plan to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, sparking anger among the Palestinians and the Arab world, who see the city as the capital of their future state.

Dhahran: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud yesterday slammed Iran's "blatant interference" in regional affairs as Arab leaders met in the Kingdom for an annual gathering.

Instead the king focused on rivalries with longtime foe Iran - only 160 kilometers (100 miles) across the Gulf from Dhahran.

The question of Jerusalem is also likely to figure prominently at the summit as the United States prepares to move its embassy there from Tel Aviv after declaring the disputed city the capital of Israel in a break with decades of global diplomacy.

Salman also announced a $150 million donation for the upkeep of Islamic heritage sites in eastern Yerushalayim.

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The Saudi decisions reflect the Kingdom's strong support to the Palestinian cause and hopefully would lead to the realization of the dream for an independent Palestine state within the 1967 borders and Eastern Jerusalem as the capital for the future country, said OIC chief.

The king said he had named this year's meeting "the Jerusalem summit so that the entire world knows Palestine and its people remain at the heart of Arab concerns".

Foreign Ministers pose for a group picture during the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers ahead of the 28th Summit of the Arab League in Riyadh on April 12, 2018.

The remark suggested increasing rapprochement with Israel, which like Riyadh, sees Tehran as its arch rival.

The King welcomed the statement issued by the Security Council, which strongly condemned the launching of Iran-made ballistic missiles by the Houthi militia on Saudi cities.

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Qatar did not send a senior official in a sign that its 10-month dispute with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt is still a long way from being resolved.

Saudi Arabia and allies expressed support for the strikes on Saturday, but Iraq and Lebanon have condemned them.

Among the leaders in attendance was Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, who walked the red carpet and was greeted by King Salman.

Tunisia will host the next Arab League summit in 2019.

Syria has been suspended from the organization for the past seven years over Assad's initial crackdown on protests before the uprising turned into all-out war.

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Topping the list of issues to be discussed are the Palestinian issue and financial support for Palestine, the crisis in Yemen, the Syrian conflict and Iran's interference in the internal affairs of the Arab states, among others.

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