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Arab leaders expected to endorse joint Arab force to fight terrorists

By Mohammad Ghazal - Mar 26,2015 - Last updated at Mar 26,2015

SHARM EL SHEIKH — The 26th Arab League Summit will begin Saturday with the Saudi-led strikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen and developments in the country set to dominate the agenda of high-profile annual gathering.

At their summit, Arab leaders will adopt a resolution supporting the legitimacy of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and condemning escalations by Houthi rebels seeking to oust the president.

Considering the Houthi hostilities and the takeover of Sanaa and many other cities as a coup, Arab leaders are set to voice support to the operation in Yemen and urge the Houthis to immediately withdraw from cities and public facilities of which they took control, according to a copy of the draft resolutions adopted by Arab foreign ministers that will be forwarded to leaders for endorsement.

The ministers also held a special emergency meeting on Yemen, during which they reworded the resolution on Yemen to provide Arab support for the operation dubbed “Operation Storm of Resolve”.

On terrorism, Arab leaders are set to look into forming a joint Arab force to face terrorist groups including Daesh, according to the draft, a copy of which was obtained by The Jordan Times.

At the summit, expected to be attended by 13 heads of state with Syria's seat vacant since 2011, Arab leaders will commit to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which offers Israel normal ties with the Arabs in return for withdrawal from territories it occupied in 1967, while rejecting the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

The Arab leaders are expected to adopt a resolution on East Jerusalem, stressing there is no peace without East Jerusalem being the capital of Palestine. 

On Libya, the leaders are expected to endorse a resolution urging the UN to lift a ban on the legitimate Libyan government to import weapons.

Lifting the ban will help provide the Libyan national army with necessary weapons to face terrorism and enforce security, the resolution says, while calling for efforts to prevent the influx of weapons and ammunition to terrorist groups in Libya via sea and air.

Arab leaders are also expected to voice their concern over the situation in Syria, while calling on the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities in addressing the unrest in the country.

“The developments in Yemen are very serious and have implications not only on the national security of Yemen but on others,” Arab League Secretary General Nabil El Araby said at the opening of the Arab foreign ministers preparatory meeting for the summit, which will run through Sunday.

Voicing the Arab League’s support for the Saudi Arabian-led operation, Araby said it is in line with the league’s charter and the Treaty of Joint Defence and Economic Cooperation of the League of Arab States.

“The Yemeni president asked for intervention directly from the UN and the Arab League,” he said.

In a speech at the opening session, Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah said the serious escalations by the Houthis necessitated an immediate intervention.

“The intervention in Yemen is meant to prevent more chaos and destruction in the country,” the Kuwaiti official said.

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