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Gulf leaders gather in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: Twitter

Makkah: Saudi King Salman Thursday night called for an international stance against Iranian acts, which he said pose a threat to global security and flow of oil supplies.

Addressing an emergency summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Saudi holy city of Makkah, the monarch warned that Iran’s interference in the Arab region’s affairs and development of its nuclear and ballistic programmes constitute a “glaring defiance” of the UN charters.

“We require the international community to shoulder its responsibility towards the Iranian practices, which pose a threat to the world security and peace and use all means to stop the Iranian regime’s interference in other countries’ internal affairs and its sponsorship of terrorist activities in the region and the world,” he said at the opening of the GCC meeting.

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Saudi King Salman chairs an emergency summit of Gulf Arab leaders in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, May 30, 2019. Image Credit: AP

Earlier this month, King Salman called for holding two GCC and Arab summits in Makkah to discuss the Iranian escalation after four vessels were sabotaged off the UAE and attacks by explosive drones, operated by Yemen’s Iran-allied Al Houthi militants against oil facilities inside Saudi Arabia.

He said that these “criminal” acts should prompt the GCC countries to join hands in order to preserve their security.

Besides Saudi Arabia, the GCC comprises the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain. Qatar, which is locked in a diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, sent its prime minister to attend the summit.

“The kingdom is keen to maintain the region’s security and stability, spare it ravages of war and fulfill peace and stability for all people of the region, including the Iranian people,” King Salman said.

The GCC gathering was followed by another of the Arab League leaders aimed at building a united front against Iran.

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Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed attending the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) held at Al Safa Royal Palace in Makkah. Image Credit: AFP/Saudi Royal Palace

In an address to that summit, the Saudi king accused Iran and its regional proxies of jeopardizing the Arab security.

“The Iranian recalcitrance is the outcome of failure to take a deterrent and firm stance against the Iranian regime’s terrorist practices,” he said.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces is leading the UAE delegation to the summits.

“Holding the Gulf, Arab and Islamic summits in Makkah in such a critical period, during which the region is witnessing daunting challenges, re-affirms the leading role played by Saudi Arabia. The kingdom represents a strategic depth for countries of both the region and the Islamic world, and plays a significant role in establishing peace and security, preserving the interests of the region’s peoples and closing Arab and Islamic ranks,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

Egyptian President Abdul Al Fatah Al Sissi told the same event that the Arab world is facing “dangerous and unprecedented” threats.

“The Arab Gulf security is closely related to the Egyptian security,” he said, calling for “firm and wise” handling of these threats.

He described the recent Gulf attacks “terrorist acts”, which require an international stance.

Al Sissi that the summit was a “message of solidarity” with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Arab League head Ahmad Abul Gheit said that Arab security is indivisible, warning that threatening trade routes is a “dangerous escalation”.

Upon their arrival at the airport in Saudi Arabia, each leader was shown Al Houthi military items, such as a destroyed drone, missiles and mortar shells used in the conflict. The leaders were given a brief explanation of the weapons on display by Col. Turki Al Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

On Wednesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Ebrahim Al Assaf told a gathering of his counterparts in Jeddah ahead of the summits that the attacks must be addressed with “strength and firmness”. He also said the “Palestinian issue is a paramount issue for Saudi Arabia, in particular the Palestinian people’s full legitimate rights and the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital”.

The summits were held amid rising tensions between Iran and the US, which blamed the recent Gulf attacks on Tehran.