Top diplomats from Saudi Arabia and its allies wrapped up two days of talks in Jordan’s Dead Sea resort on Thursday on coordinating policy on the multiple conflicts gripping the region.
The closed-door meetings were a “consultation between brothers and friends”, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in a terse statement shortly after they ended.
They were a forum “to exchange views on our regional issues and ways of cooperation to overcome regional crises,” he said, without providing any details.
On Wednesday, when the six ministers held six hours of talks, Jordan’s King Abdullah II highlighted the “importance of coordination on the various issues and crises facing the region.”
The talks, which also involved the foreign ministers of Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, came just two weeks before a planned US-Polish conference on the Middle East.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the conference will look at “making sure Iran is not a destabilizing influence”, although a senior US official has insisted it is “not an anti-Iran meeting.”
Key players have baulked at attending the conference, concerned by Washington’s hard line against Iran which is widely seen as driven by Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The Dead Sea meeting also came amid debate over the return of Syria to the Arab League, which suspended Damascus’s membership in November 2011 as President Bashar al-Assad has emerged victorious from nearly eight years of deadly conflict.
Several Arab states, including Lebanon and Tunisia, have called for Syria’s return.
In December, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir made the first visit to Damascus by an Arab leader since 2011, and the UAE reopened its embassy.