The Jeddah Summit confirms the Arab-American consensus

Iran's nuclear programme (Photo: Shutterstock).

The Jeddah summit reflects an Arab-American consensus on curbing the Iranian nuclear programme, writes Ahmad Abdel-Rahman.

On July 16, the Jeddah Summit for Security and Development concluded in Saudi Arabia. The US President Joe Biden participated in the summit on the last leg of his Middle East tour, his first since taking office. Several other Arab countries also took part.

Respect for the sovereignty of states

In his speech at the end of the summit, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stressed that the meeting comes "at a time when the region and the world are facing major fateful challenges that require intensifying joint cooperation within the framework of the principles of the United Nations Charter. These principles are based on respect for the sovereignty and values ​​of states and non-interference in their affairs", he said. He added that there needs to be respect for their independence of many Arab countries along with territorial integrity.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed his hope that "the summit will establish a new era of joint cooperation and deepen the strategic partnership among the countries of the region and the US to serve common interests and enhance security and development in this vital region for the whole world".

He also said: "The major challenges that the world has recently faced due to the Corona pandemic and geopolitical conditions require more concerted international efforts to recover the global economy and achieve food and health security."

US commitment towards the region

In his speech, US President Joe Biden affirmed the US's commitment to the role it plays in the Middle East as an "influencer". Biden said that his country remains fully involved in the region and will not leave the Middle East so that other global powers can exert their influence.

"We will not leave a void that will be filled by China,، Russia or Iran," Biden said, adding that the US is committed to ensuring that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. He stressed that his country would remain an active and cooperative partner in the Middle East.

"Let me conclude by summarising all of this in one sentence: The US is committed to building a positive future in the region, in partnership with all of you," Biden said. "The US will support and strengthen partnerships with countries involved in the rules-based international system. We will ensure that these countries can defend themselves against external threats," he stressed.

Biden explained that "Iran is destabilizing the security and stability of the region," and said: "We have the resolve to confront the terrorist threat everywhere." Biden reiterated: "The US role in the region will continue," adding that "Washington will ensure the security of navigation in the sea lanes."

Coordination and consultation

In his speech, Kuwait's Crown Prince Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber said: "The situation in the region requires more coordination and consultation from us. The Gulf-US relations have witnessed great achievements, and we are determined to work together to strengthen strategic relations with America."

Stability is essential

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, also said: "The dangers facing the Middle East require finding a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue." He also said: "Achieving stability in the Gulf is necessary for the region and for the entire world."

He pointed out that "crises and wars affect the entire world, and the war in Ukraine has contributed to exacerbating a crisis that may lead to humanitarian disasters". He added that "there is no security, stability or development while conflicts are raging".

The most dangerous challenge

The King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa also stressed that "interference in the internal affairs of states remains the most dangerous challenge, and the sovereignty of states must be respected and non-interference in their affairs". 

The strategic relationship between the Arab countries and America must be established," he added, pointing out that "the Middle East suffers from difficult political and security conditions," and that the Palestinian issue must be resolved, according to the two-state solution, before there is any-headway in this regard.

Iran's nuclear program

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that the meetings of the US President and Saudi leaders focused on the strategic partnership between the two countries. Speaking in a press conference, Prince Faisal added that the Jeddah summit showed the maturity of joint Arab action and that the leaders' words confirmed that the countries of the region know what they want and do not wait for anyone to achieve that.

Prince Faisal addressed several issues. He stressed that there is great coordination with the US administration regarding Iran's nuclear programme and its threats in the region. He said: "The solution is through diplomacy and dialogue. We hope that Tehran will respond to dialogue to address the problem of its nuclear programme."

Yemen crisis

Prince Faisal also said: "We are working hard from our side to reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire in Yemen, which opens the door for Yemeni talks to end the conflict, for which Iranian weapons are part of the reasons for its continuation." He added that this requires that "the Houthis realise that Yemen's interest is in dialogue, and we hope that there will be more international solidarity to stop the flow of weapons to Yemen".

On the issue of energy, the Saudi Foreign Minister said that his country would reach a maximum production capacity of 13 million barrels per day. He indicated that the "OPEC +" organisation is working to follow up market conditions and respond to demand. He added that Riyadh listens to countries' opinions, but the "OPEC +" system is in place, and is effective and working as required.

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Sunday, 25 September 2022