Saudis walk out of Arab League summit

Saudi delegation quits Arab League meeting after Iraqi foreign minister defends Iranian-backed coalition of Shiite militias

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Arab foreign ministers attend an emergency Arab League session in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016.

An Iraqi diplomat said on Friday that a Saudi Arabian delegation to the Arab League left a meeting after Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al Jaafari defended the Shiite Hashd al Shabi militia group.

The group is an Iranian-backed coalition of Iraqi Shiite militias fighting against the DAESH terrorist group.

Iraq is host to a conflict of interests between the Sunni power Saudi Arabia and Shiite spearhead Iran, which are also at odds in Syria and Yemen.

"The Saudi delegation withdrew from the meeting hall after the speech of Foreign Minister al Jaafari who rejected speaking against Hashd Shabi and other resistance groups," the source said, declining to be named.

"In his speech he said that Hashd Shabi and Hezbollah have preserved the dignity of the Arabs and those who call them terrorists are the terrorists," he said.

There was no official response from the Saudi delegation about the situation.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the country in January over his recent statements concerning the role of Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite militias in the fight against DAESH.

Morocco said last month that it would not host the 2016 Arab League meeting as scheduled, saying it wanted to avoid giving a false impression of unity in the Arab world.

TRTWorld and agencies