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King reaffirms commitment to two-state solution, political settlement in Syria in opening speech of 29th Arab Summit

Apr 15,2018 - Last updated at Apr 15,2018

His Majesty King Abdullah delivers a speech inaugurating the Arab summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

The following is the official translation of His Majesty King Abdullah’s speech at the opening of the 29th Ordinary Session of the Council of the League of Arab States at the Summit level on April 15, 2018, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 

 

In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate,

 

Prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad,

 

My brother, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz,

Your Majesties, Highnesses, Excellencies,

Your Excellency, Secretary General of the League of Arab States,

 

Peace, God’s mercy and blessings be upon you.

 

It is my pleasure to express my deep appreciation to my brother, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the gracious hospitality and the warm welcome.

I also thank His Excellency Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit and the staff of the Arab League for their efforts during the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s presidency of the 28th Arab summit, and their work to follow up on its decisions and recommendations.

Last year, we had the honour and the responsibility of assuming the presidency of the Arab Summit. We reaffirmed the need to bolster and activate joint Arab action, and adopted comprehensive and lasting peace as a strategic Arab option — in accordance with international law, relevant UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

During our presidency, we exerted all possible efforts, in direct, close coordination with our brethren, Arab leaders, to meet the historical challenges facing our Ummah. Working jointly, we harnessed all our capabilities and international ties in the service of the just causes of our Ummah, foremost of which are the Palestinian cause and the holy city of Jerusalem.

 

My brothers,

distinguished guests

 

We must reaffirm the eternal rights of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and Christians to Jerusalem, which is the key to peace in the region and must be the cornerstone for achieving a comprehensive solution that guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Our Palestinian brothers seek peace, and their commitment to the two-state solution and to rejecting violence is an unequivocal testament to their unwavering commitment to peace. It is our collective duty to stand with them and to support their steadfastness in their struggle to gain their legitimate rights to independent statehood, and to living in peace and security.

It is our duty and our shared responsibility as an Arab group, and it is the duty of the international community to provide the necessary support for Palestinian refugees, and to work towards enabling the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to continue to provide its humanitarian and social services until a fair and just solution is reached to the cause of refugees. Any obstruction of the vital services of UNRWA will negatively impact over 5 million Palestinian refugees in the region.

Second, the Hashemite custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem is a historical duty and responsibility that we are proud to carry. We will persevere in upholding this responsibility, in coordination with our brothers at the Palestinian National Authority and with your support. And we will continue strengthening the resolve of Jerusalemites and counter any attempts to change the identity of the holy city, impose new facts on the ground, or change the historical and legal status quo.

Third, we must salute and commend our brothers in Iraq for the positive developments and their victory over the Daesh terrorist group. We congratulate them and affirm our support for them in defeating the khawarej. We also stress the importance of building on this military victory through an inclusive political process.

Fourth, with regards to the Syrian crisis, we have supported all initiatives to push the political process forward and ensure de-escalation on the ground — such as the Astana, Vienna, and Sochi talks — as part of the ongoing pursuit of a political solution that involves all components of the Syrian people, maintains the territorial integrity of Syria and guarantees the safety of its citizens and the return of refugees. We have affirmed that these efforts support the Geneva track, and do not replace it.

Fifth, we reaffirm our commitment to good neighbourly relations, and we believe that shared regional interests require countering any attempts to intervene in the internal affairs of Arab states, instigate strife and sectarian conflict or threaten their security in any shape or form.

Sixth, our Arab group must step up diplomatic efforts with all regional and international organisations to take on the mounting challenges facing our Arab world. And we stress the importance of devising a comprehensive action plan to bolster cooperation and coordination with these organisations.

Finally, I hereby announce the conclusion of the 28th Arab summit, and it is my pleasure to invite my brother Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz to assume the presidency of the 29th Arab summit, wishing him success in serving the causes of our Arab Ummah and in fulfilling its aspirations.

 

Peace, God’s mercy and blessings be upon you.

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