FM: Arab summit successful by any standard

The talks between the three leaders, held on the sidelines of the Arab League Summit by the Dead Sea, emphasised "Egypt's and Jordan's backing for the legitimate rights of Palestinians, in addition to setting up an independent Palestinian state", according to a statement by Egypt's presidency late on Wednesday.

Israel undermines chances for peaceful resolution of decades-long conflict with the Palestinian Authority due to continued settlement activity in the West Bank, Jordanian King Abdullah II said Wednesday.

The Jordan summit is witnessing a large presence of Arab leaders, seeking to strengthen unity by bringing views closer and develop a common ground on several issues that needs to be dealt mainly topics such as the Palestinian cause, the crises in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya, in addition to the relationship with Iran.

As many as 17 Arab leaders are expected to take part in the summit, including, Jordan's King Abdullah, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Iraqi President Haider Al Abadi.

The Arab summiteers oppose plans by US President Donald Trump to move Washington's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and consider alternatives to a Palestinian state.

Visiting a refugee camp in Jordan ahead of the summit, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for differences to be set aside.

Jordan's King Abdullah has told an Arab summit that Middle East peace can not be attained without a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

The U.S. Embassy in Jordan said on Wednesday that in his meetings, Jason Greenblatt "focused on how tangible progress could be made toward advancing Middle East peace", but that a deal could not be imposed.

The draft, which was drawn up by the Palestinian delegation, was approved by Arab foreign ministers at an eve-of-summit meeting in the Jordanian Dead Sea resort of Sweimeh.

The Russian official also criticized Syria's absence from the summit, saying, "If Arab friends want to discuss the Syrian problem at the Arab League level, there should be direct communication with the Syrian parties and with the central government in Damascus".

President Trump arranged a dinner in honor of the Saudi king's son that was attended by Vice President Mike Pence, the White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, the president's strategic adviser Steve Bannon and his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.

"We are concerned that there should be an Arab consensus on the Palestinian file so that this reflects clearly in the discussions of Arab states and their leaders with the new American administration", Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told Reuters.

"We meet in a hard Arab era dominated by crisis and conflicts that deprive our region of the security and stability they need to attain our people's rights", Safadi said in a meeting with fellow foreign ministers before the summit.

He also urged support for Jerusalem to help it overcome Israeli schemes to change its Arab and Muslim character and help its Palestinian Arab population to remain steadfast in their city. That would pave the way for the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Trump has backpedaled on a campaign promise to move the Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Syria's Bashar al-Assad has not been invited to the summit since 2011, when the brutal repression of anti-government protests led to armed conflict involving world powers.

  • Leroy Wright