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Apr 01 2019

Arab League says Turkey and Iran are worsening regional crises

Iran and Turkey have worsened regional crises and created new problems in Arab countries, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States said on Sunday, urging Arab leaders to unite against such troubling policies.

"The interventions from our neighbours in the region - especially Iran and Turkey - have complicated the crises and led to prolongation of the solution," Ahmed Aboul Gheit said at the opening session of the Arab League summit in Tunisia.

The Secretary-General of the League of Arab States pointed out that Arab security is at great risk in the current period.

"Arab national security has in recent years been exposed to the most serious challenges and the most serious threats in its contemporary history,” said Gheit, calling on Arab leaders to “unite as one force under one umbrella against the regional interventions”.

He said Arabs would not accept foreign forces in Arab countries.

“There is no room for any regional power to have pockets within our countries, namely for example safe zones," said the secretary-general, likely referring to Turkey’s proposal to create a buffer zone in northern Syria.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria in December, saying the Islamic State had been defeated. Trump earlier this year gave Turkey the green light to set up a 500-km-long and 32-km-wide safe zone in the north of neighbouring Syria. But recently, Washington has been negotiating with European countries to help establish a safe zone.

This year’s Arab League summit, hosting representatives from the 22-member league, minus Syria, comes against the backdrop of ongoing wars in Syria and Yemen, rival authorities in Libya and a lingering boycott of Qatar by four fellow League members.