File picture: Ahmed Abu Al Ghait, Secretary-General of the Arab League. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: Arab League foreign ministers have condemned Turkey and Iran’s meddling in the affairs of Arab countries.

Ahmed Abu Al Ghait, Secretary-General of the Arab League, said: “The past period witnessed growing bullying and hostility by regional powers towards our Arab region, and the escalation of interference in the affairs of our Arab countries by two neighboring countries, namely Iran and Turkey.”

Arab League states met on Wednesday at foreign minister level to discuss Turkish and Iranian interference in the region and the Palestinian cause.

In 2015, the Arab League set up a quadripartite committee to follow up on Iranian interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries.

Unfortunately, these interventions took a dangerous turn that would have complicated and prolonged the existing conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

As for Turkey, Abu Al Ghait said Ankara continued to occupy large parts of the Syrian territories, and began its attacks on Iraqi lands and recently, it plunged into the Libyan civil war with direct military intervention.

Abu Al Ghait said the League is following the situation in Libya with great concern, and hopes that the Libyan parties will reach a permanent agreement and a comprehensive ceasefire.

Resolute police needed to deter Turkish regime

Stressing the need to pursue a unified and resolute Arab policy to deter the Turkish regime, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, said Cairo will not stand motionless in face of the Turkish greed that is especially showed in northern Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Shukri added Egypt supports Iraq against continuous Turkish aggression into its borders and backs measures Baghdad is taking against these intransigent instances of interference.

Turkey launched a major cross-border military operation into northern Iraq in May, saying it was battling Kurdish militants. Several civilians and Iraqi border guards have been killed.

Last month, Iraqi officials cancelled a visit by Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar in protest of a Turkish drone killing of two Iraqi officers.

Assistant Arab League Secretary Hussam Zaki said Iran and Turkey are seeking to interfere in Arab affairs and seek opportunities at the expense of Arab states.

The Cairo meeting on Wednesday was held remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zaki said, in a press briefing after the meeting, the Palestinian delegation presented a draft resolution to the meeting that did not have the agreement of the other members.

The draft affirmed Palestinian rights and specifically referred to the Aug 13 peace accord between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, but did not endorse it. However, an amended draft resolution that focused on Palestinian rights and the need to establish a two-state solution supported by a number of Arab countries, also did not pass.

US-brokered deal between the UAE and Israel seeks to establish normalised relations in return for a halt to Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash said the UAE-Israel treaty created a new momentum for peace and reaffirmed his country’s support for the two-state solution.

Gargash added the UAE’s position in support of the Palestinian cause is a hallmark of the country’s policy since it was founded and will remain so in the future.

The minister also condemned Turkey’s activities in the region, saying recent activity in the Eastern Mediterranean undermines security and safety of maritime traffic in the Mediterranean waters, in a clear violation of relevant international laws and conventions and a violation of the sovereignty of states.”

He added, “Iranian interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries continues through its support for armed militias and groups in some Arab countries, and Tehran continues to threaten the security and safety of maritime traffic and energy supplies in the waterways of the region”.

The Arab League ministers also affirmed their full solidarity with Sudan as it battles devastating floods and declared its support to Lebanon.