Saudi Arabia, allies wrap up talks in Jordan

Foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan were present during the meetings.
Thursday 31/01/2019
Arab foreign ministers speak after attending informal talks on the latest regional developments, at the King Hussein Convention Centre at the Dead Sea, Jordan January 31, 2019. (Reuters)
Arab foreign ministers speak after attending informal talks on the latest regional developments, at the King Hussein Convention Centre at the Dead Sea, Jordan January 31, 2019. (Reuters)

High-level diplomats from Saudi Arabia and its regional allies concluded two days of coordination sessions on Thursday in Jordan’s Dead Sea resort, where they discussed policy approaches to the region’s various conflicts.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi described the talks as a forum “to exchange views on our regional issues and ways of cooperation to overcome regional crises.”

They were a “consultation between brothers and friends,” he added.  

Foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan were present during the meetings, which came two weeks ahead of a planned US-Polish conference on the Middle East.   

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the conference will look at “making sure Iran is not a destabilising influence” in the region.

Qatar was not present at the Dead Sea talks, as the feud between four Arab countries and Doha continues. In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar accusing it of supporting terrorism and aligning with Iran.

The Dead Sea meeting also came amid debate over the return of Syria to the Arab League, which suspended Damascus’s membership in November 2011, as President Bashar Assad regains control over the country.

Several Arab states, including Lebanon and Tunisia, which is preparing to host the annual Arab League summit at the end of March, have called for Syria’s return to the body.

In December, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir made the first visit to Damascus by an Arab leader since 2011, and the UAE reopened its embassy there.

(Arab Weekly staff and news agencies)