26th Arab Summit reaches historic decisions

(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The 26th Arab Summit featured a great consensus among the Arab countries and reached historic resolutions which will help turn over a new leaf in joint action.

The two-day gathering came to a close Sunday night in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Most notable among these resolutions is the one on an agreement in principle to form a joint rapid intervention force to face up to the growing challenges and threats.

Membership in the joint force is open to any Arab League member state. The planned force will be tasked with reacting in case a member state comes under threat, including terrorist ones.

The Arab leaders asked the League's Secretary-General Nabil Al-Araby to meet with Arab chiefs of staff within one month to discuss the details of the joint force.

Al-Arabi told reporters the military chiefs will be invited to meet within a month, and a specific timeframe will be set to map out the force's formation.

Arab chiefs of staff will brief the Arab Joint Defense Council on the outcomes of their meetings within three months time.

The leaders reaffirmed unwavering support for the UAE's full sovereignty
over the three Gulf islands; Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa.

They declared backing for all measures and peaceful means Abu Dhabi may take to restore its sovereignty on the three islands, being occupied by Iran since early 1970s.

They condemned Iran's action meant to legitimize its occupation of the
three islands, its repeated breaches of the memorandum of understanding, signed by the two countries on November 20, 1971.

Iran has taken provocative actions aimed at altering the island's demographic status, through construction of housing units and settling non-natives on it, in addition to "illegitimate construction of installations as well as carrying out military maneuvers and drills," the summit declaration said.

The declaration clarified that the Iranians have been building hospitals and facilities for economic, cultural, social, sports and religious purposes. Moreover, the island often witnesses visits by Iranian officials.

Such acts constitute blatant breaches of the UAE sovereignty on the three islands; they are illegal and do not erase the fact that the UAE enjoys sovereignty on the three islands.

The summit declaration urged Iran to respect the UAE sovereignty on the islands, halt such violations and provocative acts that constitute intervention in internal affairs of an independent and sovereignty state.

Regarding Lebanon, the Arab leaders expressed full solidarity with the
Lebanese government in its efforts to preserve the country's security, sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity.

They reaffirmed support to the Lebanese people's right to liberate the
Israeli-occupied Shibaa farms, Kfar Chouba hills, and Al-Ghajar village.

They demanded the international community to implement the UNSC resolutions 1701, 425 and 426, and put an end to the Israeli violations and threats to Lebanon.

They commended the national efforts exerted by the Lebanese army and
security agencies to preserve stability and public peace in the country,
lauding the sacrifices by Lebanese soldiers in the fight against terrorism

and terrorist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front.

They also welcomed efforts exerted by the Lebanese government in
hosting Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon despite the country's
limited capabilities, stressing the importance to support Lebanon and share its burdens regarding accommodating refugees.

They renewed support to the current dialogue among Lebanese political powers to overcome disputes, ease political tension, push for national consensus.

On the Saudi-led "Operation Decisive Storm," the leaders affirmed commitment to the air campaign meant to deter the Houthi militia from intimidating the Yemeni people and restore the country's legitimacy and constitutional institutions.

The leaders have vowed to join ranks and take pre-emptive and defensive arrangements to maintain the Arab national security.

They decided to keep all choices open to counter the mounting challenges in line with the Arab League Charter, the Arab Joint Defense Treaty and the international legitimacy.

These challenges require joining efforts and mobilizing all political, military, economic, cultural and social potentials to protect the security and territorial integrity of the Arab countries.

The summit declaration cited recent developments in Yemen and the slide the country into chaos as a flagrant example of these challenges and stressed the dire need for "necessary measures to counter them." These developments prompted the Saudi-led ten-member coalition to step in after all means were exhausted to end the Houthi coup d'etat in Yemen and restore legitimacy.

The Declaration affirmed that the Operation Decisive Storm will continue till the Houthi militias withdraw and lay down their arms.

It underlined the importance of urgent response to President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi's call for a Yemeni national dialogue to be held in the Saudi capital of Riyadh under the umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). All Yemeni powers and parties keen on the country's security and stability are invited to come together for the dialogue.

The Arab leaders commended Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz for agreeing to patronize the dialogue.

On Palestine, the Arab leaders decided to scale up their financial and political support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to help it counter the Israeli malpractices.

They pledged USD 100 million in monthly financial aid to the PA and agreed to increase the capital of the Al-Aqsa Fund and Jerusalem Fund by 50 percent, or USD 500 million. On the political level, the leaders called for Arab backing to the Palestinian Central Council's decision to reconsider all political, economic and security relations with the Israeli occupation to press Israel into putting in place the previously-signed agreements and relevant UN resolutions.

They criticized the Israeli practices that undermine the chances of a two-state solution. They urged the United States to take firm actions to force Israel to stop such behavior.

The Arab leaders called on the UN to shoulder its responsibility and take necessary measures against Israel over its crimes in Gaza Strip and other occupied Palestinian territories.

The leaders welcomed the UN Human Rights Council decision in last July to form an independent fact-finding panel to investigate the Israeli violations during the offensive on the strip in mid-2014.

They condemned the Israeli illegal measures to change the Arab character and demography of the occupied the holy city of Jerusalem.

The leaders assigned Arab foreign ministers to continue contacts with the UN Security Council and the five permanent UNSC members to adopt a resolution based on the Arab Peace Initiative.
In this regard, they commended the diplomatic efforts exerted by the Arab Peace Initiative Committee, chaired by Kuwait's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, to rally international support for the Palestinian cause.

They welcomed the Palestinian Authority's decision to join the UN and international organizations and treaties.
Regarding the Syrian conflict, the Arab leaders called on the UN Security Council to shoulder its full responsibility for putting an end to the serious humanitarian disaster, voicing grave concern over the deteriorating situation and its dangerous repercussions on the country's future.

They called on Secretary-General Al-Araby to continue his consultations with the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ban's Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura and all parties concerned to reach a joint plan to resolve the crisis politically.
They welcomed the outcome of meetings of Cairo and Moscow and their endeavors to revive the path of political solution of the Syrian crisis, through negotiations, based on the declaration of Geneva I.

On the occupied Golan Heights, the leaders reaffirmed support for Syria's right to regain the entire Golan Heights in accordance with of international legitimacy.

They warned that the continued Israeli occupation of the region poses a serious threat to peace and security in the Middle East and the world.

They denounced Israel's looting of natural resources of the occupied Golan, and expressed full solidarity with Syria and Lebanon in the face of the Israeli threats.

Regarding the Libyan conflict, the leaders reiterated full political and financial support for the legitimate government.

They pledged to offer the necessary aid to the Libyan army in its ongoing mission to eliminate terrorism and restore security in the country.

They urged Libyan political parties to engage in the dialogue and renounce violence, and demanded the UNSC to lift arms embargo on the Libyan government.

They stressed the importance of supporting the country's political process,
led by the UN special envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon.
As for Somalia, the Arab leaders welcomed the success of national reconciliation dialogue and the efforts exerted to rebuild the state institutions.
They also welcomed the measures taken by the Somali government to implement the nationally and internationally supported plan of action.

They lauded the steady improvement in the security situation in the civil conflict-torn Arab country. They extolled the African Union Mission in Somalia for its significant help to the government forces for maintaining security and stability in the country.

They leaders condemned the attacks and acts of violence carried out by Al-Shabab group against the Somali people and the government as well as the African Union Mission in Somalia.

Regarding the restructuring of the Arab League, the leaders decided to activate the amendment of the League's charter within three months time with a view to upgrading the pan-Arab organization.

The amended ten-item charter provides for supporting peace, security and stability of the Arab League member states without interfering in the internal affairs of any state.
It also calls for enhancing democracy, good governance, sovereignty of law, protection of human rights and respect of the international law.
It also aims to back up the efforts of the post-conflict reconstruction, promote peace, prevent and solve disputes, and coordinate the anti-terrorism effort.
On the Arab Peace and Security Council, the leaders approved a recommendation to amend its basic statutes in order to made the council better able to contribute to the Arab joint action and respond to threats.
Under the amendment, the Council is to meet at the ministerial level on a twice per year to work out strategies for Arab security and early warning systems.

Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)

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