Arab Leaders Gather in Dhahran to Unite on Regional Challenges

Arab leaders gathered in Dhahran this weekend for the 29th session of the Arab Summit, held for the first time at the recently-opened King Abdulaziz International Cultural Center in Dhahran.

The group called on Sunday for an international probe into the “criminal” use of chemical weapons in Syria and condemned what it saw as Iran’s interference in the affairs of other countries, according to Reuters.

The summit took place as the United States, the U.K. and France launched airstrikes on government facilities after a chemical weapons attack in the war-torn country. It was the second time the Trump Administration launched a strike in Syria.

The 29th session of the Arab Summit at King Abdulaziz International Cultural Center.

The 29th session of the Arab Summit at King Abdulaziz International Cultural Center.

Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States, Prince Khaled bin Salman, said on Twitter that the Kingdom “supports the precision strikes conducted against the Iranian backed Assad regime for their use of internationally banned weapons. This swift response will hopefully serve as a future deterrent to Assad’s barbaric use of chemical Weapons.”

“The response to the use of chemical weapons reinforces the rule of international law in the region and sends an important message to Assad, Iran, and its sectarian militias in Syria; they will face consequences for their flagrant violations,” he said.

In his opening address, King Salman disagreed with President Trump’s recent decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. “We reiterate our rejection of the US administration’s decision on Jerusalem,” the King said, adding, “We commend the international consensus that rejects it. We emphasize that East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian land.”

The gathering leaders even had the chance to dine together informally, shedding their traditional headdresses and snapping a photo together, which made the rounds on social media.

In attendance of that dinner alongside Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Bahraini King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa, Jordanian King Abdullah, and Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi.