World, Middle East

Arab League summit ends with declaration in Jordan

Annual meeting releases declaration focusing on regional issues

30.03.2017
Arab League summit ends with declaration in Jordan

By Laith Joneidi, Daniel Gallego, Afra Aksoy and Murat Tan

DEAD SEA

The annual Arab League summit held in the Dead Sea region in Jordan ended Wednesday with a declaration that focused on the Syrian crisis and fighting terror.

The one-day meeting was attended by 18 Arab leaders, while King Mohamed VI of Morocco failed to show up for unannounced reasons.

The 15-point speech of the Amman declaration focused mainly on Syrian and Palestinian issues, and terror.

According to the declaration, Arab countries would continue to seek a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis and continue to support the countries hosting Syrian refugees.

Since the war in Syria erupted in March 2011, more than 250,000 victims have been killed, according to the UN. The Syrian Center for Policy Research puts the death toll at more than 470,000.

On Iraq, the declaration said the country's stability and territorial integrity were the basic cornerstones of Arab national security.

Arab countries gave full support for neutralizing terror gangs and to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul from Daesh.

Iraqi forces have driven Daesh fighters from most of eastern Mosul as part of a wide-ranging offensive launched in October to retake the city the terror group overran in 2014.

Backed by a U.S.-led air coalition, Iraqi forces in February began fresh operations aimed at purging Daesh from the rest of the city.

The declaration also supports the restart of stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestine on a two-state solution based on 1967 borders.

The statement said relocating of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was unacceptable.

Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian collapsed in April 2014 due to Israel's refusal to release a group of Palestinian political prisoners despite promises to do so.

All attempts to revive negotiations between the two sides have since failed due mainly to Israel's insistence on continued settlement construction on occupied territories.

Settlement activity has been on the rise since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January -- thousands more have been approved in three separate plans.

Approximately 500,000 Israelis now live in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built since Israel occupied the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.

The Palestinians want these areas -- along with the Gaza Strip -- for the a future Palestinian state.

Jordan offered to host this year’s Arab summit after Yemen was unable to do so due to the ongoing conflict there.

The last Arab League summit was hosted by Mauritania last June.

Conflicts in Libya and Yemen were also mentioned in the declaration.

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