Arab leaders vow to defeat terrorism

Agencies/Nouakchott, Mauritania
Arab leaders, addressing the opening session of a summit, yesterday promised to “defeat terrorism”, with the crises in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya the main focus of their talks.
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani took part, along with the leaders of Arab countries, in the opening session of the 27th session of the Arab League Council at the summit level, held under the slogan of “Summit of Hope”. The session was attended by members of the official delegation accompanying the Emir.
Opening the talks, Egypt’s Premier Sherif Ismail called for “an Arab strategy of struggle against terrorism”.
“We must recast the religious language that terrorist elements exploit to their own ends to sow terror, death and destruction,” he said.
Terrorists were deflecting Islam’s message of peace, he added.
Mauritania’s head of state Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is hosting the summit, also slammed the “blind violence of terrorists” as well as foreign interventions that feed instability in the Arab world.
The Mauritanian president also called for fresh efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that regional instability would continue until the issue was settled.
Arab foreign ministers meeting ahead of the summit on Saturday urged a “definitive solution” to the conflict and welcomed a French and Egyptian initiative to help revive dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
“Putting an end to Israeli occupation and establishing an independent state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital will always remain the prime focus and purpose of the Arab world,” Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, the secretary-general of the Arab League, said.
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi called on his country’s Houthi fighters to surrender their weapons and withdraw from territories they control.
“The only solution to the crisis is for the (Houthis) to abide by the recommendations of the Gulf Arab initiative and UN Security Council resolution 2216 which calls for them to withdraw from areas they seized and lay down the heavy arms they have,” the Al Jazeera website quoted President Hadi as saying.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, talking about the conflict in Syria, said there could be no solution while President Bashar al-Assad was still in power.
“Thousands have been killed and millions displaced in addition to the destruction of the infrastructure of the country, as a result it is impossible for Bashar al-Assad to have any place in the future of Syria, especially since his hands are tainted with the blood of his own people,” he said.
It is the first Arab League summit hosted by Mauritania since it joined the organisation in 1973.