Saudi Arabia, Arab allies to hold Cairo talks on Iran, Hezbollah

Saudi Arabia, Arab allies to hold Cairo talks on Iran, Hezbollah

Bahrain s foreign minister said Sunday that Lebanon is under the "total control" of the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, in a speech at an Arab League meeting called by Riyadh. "We want to hold countries where Hezbollah is a partner in government responsible, specifically Lebanon".

During an emergency session of the 22-member Arab League in Cairo on Sunday, the attending regional foreign ministers declared the Shiite Muslim political party and militant group Hezbollah "a terrorist organization" and censured Iran for its alleged backing of the Yemeni Zaidi Shiite Muslim Houthi movement, which fired a rocket at the Saudi capital of Riyadh earlier this month.

The League ministers affirmed Riyadh´s right to defend its territory and said they would support all legitimate procedures it might take "against these Iranian violations".

The ministers, according to the final statement, said they supported any action to be taken by Saudi Arabia to protect its national security, within the boundaries of global legitimacy. On Saturday, Mr Hariri was in Paris, where he met French president Emmanuel Macron.

Riyadh and Tehran also support opposing sides in several regional conflicts, including in Syria and Yemen.

Aoun has accused Saudi Arabia of holding Hariri hostage.

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Earlier, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, the head of the Arab League, which comprises 22 Sunni-dominated states in the Middle East and North Africa, made similar remarks, accusing Iran of fomenting sectarianism, and developing potentially destabilizing missile technology.

The Saudi draft also includes a warning to Iran against continuing its present policies in the region and orders Arab diplomats to request a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss what it called Iranian "threats", added the diplomats.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends a meeting at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on November 19, 2017. Saudi Arabia and Hariri both deny those accusations. It is, however, the first time the Arab League has taken such a strong public stand against Hezbollah.

In what is perhaps the only concrete measure, the ministers said Arab telecommunications satellites would ban Iranian-financed television stations for what they said was their fomenting of sectarian and ethnic tensions and because they posed a threat to Arab security.

According to Marwan Bishara, a senior political analyst has said that Saudi Arabia had convened the Cairo meeting in a bid to "consolidate its position in a divided Arab region".

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