Saudi monarch warns of Iranian threat in speech at Sharm el-Sheikh

At the first joint EU-Arab League Summit held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the Saudi monarch called on European and Arab leaders once again to confront "its aggressive practices"
Monday 25/02/2019
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) meets with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven on the sidelines of the European Union and League of Arab States  summit at the Sharm elpSheikh convention center. (SPA)
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) meets with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven on the sidelines of the European Union and League of Arab States summit at the Sharm elpSheikh convention center. (SPA)

LONDON - Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud warned Arab and European leader against the threat posed by Iran's behaviour in the region.

At the first joint EU-Arab League Summit held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the Saudi monarch said Iran continued to pose a threat in the region and called on  European and Arab leaders once again to confront "its aggressive practices and blatant interference in other states' affairs."

"This requires a unified international stance, to compel it to adhere to principles of good neighbourliness and international law and to put an end to its nuclear and ballistic programmes," King Salman said on the opening day of the summit on February 24.

He criticised Tehran's support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who he said were continuing to "launch Iranian-made ballistic missiles towards Saudi cities" and posing a direct threat to international shipping.

The king made similar comments in an address to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in December 2018.

Arab and European states sought common ground on security threats and regional crises including Yemen, Syria and Libya on February 24 at their first joint summit.

King Salman also emphasised the importance of a political solution to the conflicted in Yemen.

“We affirm the importance of international efforts to support Yemeni legitimacy and bring the revolutionary terrorist Houthi militias supported by Iran to submit to the international community,” he told those attending the summit.

The United Nations has been trying to salvage a truce agreed at peace talks in Stockholm in December between Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Saudi-backed government.

Also, Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit accused both Turkey and Iran of meddling in the conflicts in Libya, Syria and Yemen.

"We [together with the European Union] are sharing concerns over the ongoing military conflicts in Yemen, Libya and Syria as well as foreign interference in them, both Iranian and Turkish ones," Gheit told Russia’s Sputnik news on the sidelines of the summit.

A suicide bombing killed 27 Iranian Revolutionary Guards near the border on February 13. Tehran blamed Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the United States and Israel for the attack

During Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz's recent tour of Asia, Saudi Minister of state of Foreign affairs Adel Al-Jubeir addressed the Iranian accusations.

The allegations by Iran, a "chief sponsor of terrorism," sought to divert the attention of the Iranian people from the country's own troubles, al-Jubeir told reporters in Islamabad.

Iranian officials had at first said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were behind the bombing but later said the attack was planned from "inside Pakistan."

"Saudi Arabia has been the victim of terrorism... We have been unmerciful in going after the terrorist and those who support them and condone them and finance them," al-Jubeir said. "We will continue to do so."