Three Arab leaders who have recently strengthened their ties with Israel met in Cairo on Sunday in a surprising unannounced summit.
Jordanian King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, convened to discuss regional issues, as well as the recent tensions around Jerusalem. The Jordanian king was accompanied by his son, Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah.
The talks were not previously scheduled, according to Reuters. They focused on trilateral ties, current challenges and crises, as well as bolstering joint Arab action and regional cooperation on food and energy security, according to a statement from the Jordanian Royal Court.
They also discussed the ongoing tensions dealing with the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, with the three Arab leaders stressing “their countries’ readiness to exert all efforts to restore calm in Jerusalem, end all forms of escalation, and remove obstacles impeding worshippers’ access.”
The statement noted the leaders emphasized the importance of respecting the Hashemite custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem and supporting the steadfastness of the Palestinian people.
The leaders called on Israel to “cease all measures that undermine peace prospects” and encouraged a “political horizon to return to serious and active negotiations to resolve the conflict on the basis of the two-state solution.”
The Hashemite Royal Court further said that King Abdullah denounced “Israeli violations, including incursions into al-Aqsa Mosque by settlers and assaults on worshippers, as well as restrictions to the access of Christians into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the limitations on the number of people marking the Saturday of Light.”
Last week, the Jordanian king received members of the Arab League’s ministerial committee at Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman. The committee urged international action to counter what they deem as illegal Israeli measures in Jerusalem. The king stressed the need to unify, coordinate and step-up Arab efforts to halt escalations in Jerusalem.
He also reiterated the need for Israel to “respect the historical and legal status quo at the site,” according to a Hashemite Royal Court statement.
The committee is chaired by Jordan and includes Tunisia, the president of the Arab League’s current cycle, in addition to Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Qatar, Egypt and Morocco.