Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Sunday slammed Iran’s “blatant interference” in the region and lashed out at the US over Jerusalem as Arab leaders met in the kingdom for their annual summit. The 82-year-old monarch dubbed the Arab League meet the “Jerusalem summit” as he took aim at Washington’s decision to recognise the disputed city as the capital of Israel and transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv. The final statement released by the league declared the move “null and illegitimate”. Under the auspices of Riyadh, seventeen heads of state from across the Arab world — not including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — gathered in the eastern Saudi city of Dhahran, home to Saudi oil giant Aramco, as world powers face off over Syria and tensions rise between Riyadh and Tehran. The meeting opened only 24 hours after a barrage of strikes launched by the United States, Britain and France hit targets they said were linked to chemical weapons development in Syria, which was suspended from the league seven years ago. A seat marked “Syrian Arab Republic” sat empty in the hall. Saudi Arabia’s king turned his attention with long-time foe Iran — only 160 kilometres (100 miles) across the Gulf from Dhahran. “We renew our strong condemnation of Iran’s terrorist acts in the Arab region and reject its blatant interference in the affairs of Arab countries,” the king said. And despite being a stalwart ally of the United States, the ruler also criticised US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and shift the US embassy there. “We reiterate our rejection of the US decision on Jerusalem,” Salman said. “East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories.” Published in Daily Times, April 16th 2018.