Syria, Palestinian-Israeli conflict high on Arab League agenda

Syria, Palestinian-Israeli conflict high on Arab League agenda

SBS World News Radio: Leaders from key Arab nations are being urged to take a greater role in resolving the Syrian war. The annual Arab League summit is set to begin in Jordan, with attention also focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Omar Dabbagh has the details.  

Along the northern banks of Jordan's Dead Sea, Arab leaders have met to discuss the latest developments in the Arab world.

Arab League heads of state and government are holding their annual summit but ahead of the meeting, they gathered to set the agenda.

That includes the ongoing Syrian civil war, which has entered its seventh year.

Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, says partner nations must not abandon the crisis.

"We must not leave the dangerous conflict for international and regional parties to run as they see fit, and control its developments according to their own interests. I believe that Arabs, represented by the Arab League, must find a way to intervene and stop the bloodshed in Syria, and end the war, and find a solution to the conflict."

Leaders will also deliberate over the continued turmoil in Yemen.

But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and prospects of a two-state solution is the primary focus of the summit.

An Arab peace initiative offers Israel diplomatic recognition from Arab countries, in return for a deal that secures Palestinian statehood.

Jordanian foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, says the initiative must be used as the basis to find a solution.

"We agree that the Palestinian issue is a central cause, and that lifting injustice and occupation from our brothers the Palestinians on the basis of the two-state solution, is a prerequisite to achieving regional safety and stability. We also agree that the Syrian catastrophe is a wound that must be tended to through peaceful means."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was in Brussels at the time Mr Safadi's comments were made.

President Abbas held high-level meetings with European Union leaders on the generations-old conflict, and says he is ready to make peace with Israel.

He added that the Palestinians want their capital to be in East Jerusalem.

"This capital, we want it to be an open city for all the worshippers, to all holy religions. The continuous expropriation of lands, settlements and this policy will create the status quo of 'one-state', and therefore repressive policies and the occupying policies will not bring about peace in our region because peace and stability can only be reached through being good neighbours and this is precisely what we are ready to do - to be good neighbours and we are hoping that the Israeli government and the people of Israel will not miss this opportunity in order to make peace."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that, for him, there are two prerequisites for peace.

He wants Palestinians to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, and for Israel to maintain security control over the entire West Bank.

During a video-link address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Mr Netanyahu also acknowledged there is a rare "opportunity" to achieve peace.

"Israel is committed to working with President Trump to advance peace with the Palestinians and with all our neighbours. I believe that the common dangers faced by Israel and many of our Arab neighbours now offer a rare opportunity to build bridges towards a better future - a future more prosperous, more secure, more peaceful."

June the 5th this year will mark 50 years since the Six Day War, where Israel captured territories that became a major point of contention in the Arab-Israeli conflict.


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