Saudi Arabia called on the Arab League to hold an emergency meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo next Sunday to discuss Iran’s interference in a number of Arab countries’ internal affairs.
The Saudi request was approved by its Gulf allies Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Djibouti, the current chair of the pan-Arab bloc, according to diplomats on Sunday.
The Middle East is plagued by long decades of tensions between Saudi Arabia – OPEC’s biggest oil producer – and Iran, which also involves other Arab countries including Yemen, Syria, Qatar, and Lebanon.
Saudi Arabia managed to destroy a ballistic missile fired from Yemen towards the capital Riyadh’s international airport last week. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused Iran of providing the Houthi rebels in Yemen with modern missiles, considering the move “a direct military aggression by the Iranian regime.”
Yemen has been witnessing a severe armed conflict between President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, supported by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Shiite Houthis, supported by Iran and militants loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt cut their diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region with its support of Iran-linked terror and sectarian groups.
Furthermore, the Lebanese Sunni PM Saad al-Hariri announced his resignation on 4 November from Riyadh, claiming that Iran, through Hezbollah, works on destabilising his country and the region. Hariri’s resignation has raised international controversy, threatening a major regional crisis.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry launched on Sunday a three-day tour to six Arab countries: Jordan, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia to discuss regional developments.
Shoukry’s tour comes in the framework of permanent consultations between Egypt and Arab states to boost mutual relations, according to a statement by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.
The FM will convey messages from Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to Arab leaders, aiming to form a unified stance towards the ongoing political developments in Lebanon and other crises facing the region.