Saudi, Jordan sign deal on $3 billion in Jordan investments

THE DEAD SEA, Jordan: US envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt on Monday said he looks forward to attending the Arab Summit in Jordan as an observer "to discuss how best to work together against extremism and toward peace and prosperity".

A 2002 Arab peace plan, which offers Israel normal ties with dozens of Arab and Muslim states in exchange for withdrawing from war-won lands sought for a Palestinian state, is to be reaffirmed when heads of state meet Wednesday.

The fighting pits Hadi's troops, backed by a Saudi-led global military coalition of mostly Arab states, against Shiite Houthi rebels, led by Abdul-Malek al-Houthi and backed by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his forces.

Any modification of the proposal, he stressed, "is rejected by the Palestinians and Arabs".

Al-Quds said the summit will start today, adding in a kicker that the Palestinian issue tops the meeting agenda.

Arabs also stressed on their rejection of relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, said the minister. It would also remind Netanyahu and Trump, who in recent comments seemed to pull back from a two-state solution, that the Arab world backs that idea.

The Palestinian issue also serves as a showcase for Arab unity in a fractured region, where leaders often find themselves on opposite sides of long-running conflicts.

Regarding Sudan's participation in the summit, Momani said details regarding the attendance of Arab leaders will be announced later once confirmed. This, however, runs into problems with Israel, which wants any diplomatic normalisation to precede discussions over territory transfers.

He also reiterated Jordan's support for a political solution for the crisis in Syria. Saudi-Egyptian relations have been tense in recent months.

Libya and the future of the national accord government will present a challenge as the fate of the Sukhairat agreement remains unclear, and the summit, while backing the Sarraj government, is unlikely to end Libya's multi-government, multi-parliament reality.

Leaders remain divided over Assad's role, if any, in a possible political transition. Qatar was the only major regional power to send its leader, with heavyweights like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE absent. The trio now serves as guarantor of a shaky cease-fire between the Syrian government and the opposition, while United Nations -brokered talks in Geneva aim to coax them toward a political transition. Tehran and Riyadh back opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen, and a more aggressive US stance toward Iran would presumably help the Saudis contain their regional archrival.

While the Arab League may be relatively powerless on Syria given the situation on the ground, the organisation may be able to further mobilise against Iran and its ambitions in the region.

  • Leroy Wright