DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Latest on developments in the Persian Gulf (all times local):
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman says Muslim heads of state are gathering in Islam’s holiest city of Mecca for a summit aimed at building the future of our peoples and confronting aggressive threats to stability.
King Salman made the comments on Twitter Friday evening, shortly before a summit of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation was set to begin in Mecca.
The OIC meeting takes places amid a spike in tensions between the Sunni-led kingdom and Shiite-led Iran. Middle Eastern leaders met for separate emergency summits in Mecca late Thursday as Saudi Arabia seeks to project a unified front against Iran.
“We meet in Mecca to build the future of our peoples, to achieve security and stability for our Arab and Islamic countries, and to resolutely confront aggressive threats and subversive activities,” read King Salman’s tweet, which did not directly name Iran, itself a member of the OIC.
Syria is rejecting the final statement of the Arab emergency summit held in Saudi Arabia, which criticizes what it calls Iranian intervention into Syrian affairs.
Syria says the statement is an unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Syria.
A Syrian Foreign Ministry statement said the Iranian presence is “legitimate because it came at the request of the Syrian government and contributed to support Syria’s efforts in combating terrorism supported by some of the participants in this summit.”
The Syrian statement said the summit should instead condemn the involvement of other countries in Syrian affairs, “which lacked legitimacy and legality” and provided “unlimited support in various forms to terrorist groups and prolonging the crisis in Syria.”