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Keep your eye on the Arab summit

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President Farmajo leaves for Saudi Arabia to attend Arab League Summit

Speaking to the reporters in Mogadishu, the director of Villa Somalia, Abdinur Mohamed Ahmed said Somali delegates would be holding talks with other Arab leaders.

Instead the king focused on rivalries with longtime foe Iran - only 160 kilometers (100 miles) across the Gulf from Dhahran.

Saudi Arabia, which takes over the rotating chair of the Arab summit from Jordan, announced that this gathering would be named the "Quds (Jerusalem) Summit", a reference to US President Donald Trump's decision a year ago to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which Arab states condemned.

King Salman also announced a $50 million donation to UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.

Participants will condemn Iran's continued interference in the internal Arab affairs during the summit that is taking place in the eastern province of Dhahran of Saudi Arabia, and will urge Iran to exhibit a good neighbourly policy and refrain from using force or threatening to use force against neighbours.

His Majesty King Abdullah will head the Jordanian delegation to the 29th Arab summit, which will start in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. It further condemned the government of Iran for ignoring the sovereignty of other countries.

Foreign Ministers pose for a group picture during the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers ahead of the 28th Summit of the Arab League in Riyadh on April 12, 2018.

His words come just weeks after his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Donald Trump.

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Saudi Arabia is pushing for a tough, unified stance against its regional arch-rival Iran at the annual gathering of the 22-member Arab League.

The two regional titans back opposing sides in a range of hotspots across the Middle East, including Lebanon and Syria and in Saudi Arabia's southern neighbor Yemen.

The King welcomed the statement issued by the Security Council, which strongly condemned the launching of Iran-made ballistic missiles by the Houthi militia on Saudi cities.

Qatar, which has confirmed it will attend the summit, also backed the strikes.

Among the leaders in attendance was Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, who walked the red carpet and was greeted by King Salman.

The status of Jerusalem, which is home to holy religious sites and has particular significance for Muslims, Christians and Jews, has long remained a sensitive topic and one of the core issues in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The Gulf states have donated large amounts of money to help refugees from the country but have not officially offered them asylum.

Tunisia will host the next Arab League summit in 2019.

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