Saudi Arabia, Arab allies in Cairo to talk on Iran, Hezbollah
CAIRO: Saudi Arabia and other Arab foreign ministers held an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday to discuss ways to confront Iran and its Lebanese Shi'ite ally Hezbollah, who the Arab allies say are interfering in their internal affairs.
Regional tensions have risen in recent weeks between Sunni monarchy Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Islamist Iran over Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's surprise resignation and after an escalation in Yemen's conflict.
Hariri, a long-time Saudi ally, resigned on Nov. 4 in an announcement made from Riyadh. Hariri cited fear of assassination and accused Iran and Hezbollah of spreading strife in the Arab world.
Hezbollah, both a military force and a political movement, is part of a Lebanese government made up of rival factions, and an ally of Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
Aoun has accused Saudi Arabia of holding Hariri hostage. Senior Lebanese politicians close to Hariri also said he was coerced
into resigning. Saudi Arabia and Hariri both deny those accusations.
"What Iran is doing against some Arab countries calls for taking more than one measure to stop these violations, interferences and threats, which are carried out through many various means," Hossam Zaki,
Arab League Assistant Secretary, told Asharq al Awsat newspaper in an interview.
"Stopping them requires a joint Arab policy."
He said the meeting would send a "strong message" for Iran to step back from its current policies.
Egypt's state-owned newspaper Al Ahram cited an Arab diplomatic source saying the meeting may refer the matter to the United Nations Security Council.
The emergency Arab foreign ministers meeting was convened at the request of Saudi Arabia with support from the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait to discuss means of confronting Iranian intervention, Egypt's state news agency MENA said.