King Salman
King Salman Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said on Thursday that the Palestinian cause would remain the Arab world’s top priority, Reuters reported.

Speaking at an emergency Arab summit in Mecca, the Saudi King called for the establishment of “an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital”.

His comments come ahead of the upcoming US-led economic workshop in Bahrain, in which the Trump administration is planning to release the economic component of its Middle East peace plan.

Saudi Arabia has confirmed its participation in the conference, though the Palestinian Authority rejected it immediately and said it would not attend.

In his comments on Thursday, King Salman also ratcheted up the rhetoric against Saudi Arabia’s arch-nemesis Iran, calling on Gulf Arab states to confront Iran’s "criminal" actions.

His remarks came a day after US National Security Advisor John Bolton said Iran was almost certainly behind this month's sabotage of four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a charge Iran has denied.

The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, meanwhile, have stepped up drone attacks on the kingdom -- one of which resulted in the temporary shutdown of a major oil pipeline.

"The Iranian regime's interference in the internal affairs of the countries of the region, development of nuclear and missile programs, and its threats to freedom of international shipping are a threat to global oil supply," the Saudi King said, according to AFP.

Its "recent criminal acts... require that all of us work seriously to preserve the security... of GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries," the king added, referring to the attacks on Gulf oil installations.

Saudi Arabia is hosting leaders from across the Arab and Muslim world for emergency Gulf and Arab summits and a meeting of heads of state from Islamic nations.

Qatar's prime minister, Kuwait's emir and Abu Dhabi's crown prince were among the leaders present at the talks, which were also attended by Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are regional rivals which back opposing sides in the wars in Yemen and Syria, where the Iranian regime supports President Bashar Al-Assad while the Saudis back the rebels trying to oust him.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly called on Iran to stop its “meddling” in the affairs of the kingdom's neighbors.

Iran has fired back, accusing Saudi Arabia of trying to “drag the entire region into confrontation”.

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