By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA (Worthy News) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Arab leaders of ignoring the horrors of Russia’s invasion of his nation and urged them to help him end the war.
Speaking at the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia, he said some delegates had “turned a blind eye” to those suffering in Europe’s most significant armed conflict since World War Two.
“Unfortunately, there are some in the world and here, among you, who turn a blind eye to those cages and illegal annexations,” Zelensky told Arab heads of state in the Saudi port city of Jeddah.
He urged Arab leaders to “take an honest look” at the war.
Zelensky indirectly referred to Syria, which openly supports Russia’s invasion, and Iran, which delivered “kamikaze” drones to Russia used in Ukraine.
The president’s arrival in Jeddah is part of his foreign trips to secure weapons and other aid to help boost the Ukrainian military ahead of an expected counter-offensive. He had just finished a three-day European tour and, after the Arab League summit, was scheduled to attend the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima, Japan, on Sunday.
While wealthy Arab countries provided aid to Kyiv, they also kept a cautious approach to the war due to their ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Saudi Arabia, in particular, has attempted to position itself as a mediator. Last September, the Gulf kingdom and its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly mediated a prisoner exchange between Kyiv and Moscow, which included two U.S. veterans who went to Ukraine to help fight against Russia.
Saudi Arabia “plays a significant role, and we are ready to take our cooperation to a new level,” wrote Zelensky on the social platform Twitter.
After arriving in Jeddah, Zelensky explained they were to discuss issues such as “political prisoners in [the Russian occupied] Crimea [peninsula] and the return of our people, Peace Formula, energy cooperation.”
Among others attending Friday’s Arab League summit was Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was welcomed back for the first time in over a decade.
Al-Assad has heavily relied on Russia’s military to stay in power after an armed uprising against his perceived autocratic regime broke out some 12 years ago.
In his speech, al-Assad said the summit was a “historic opportunity” to address crises across the region as hundreds protested in rebel-held northern Syria against his participation in the event.
“I hope that it marks the beginning of a new phase of Arab action for solidarity among us, for peace in our region, development, and prosperity instead of war and destruction,” al-Assad told attendees.
He added that Syria would always belong to the Arab world but called for non-interference in the internal affairs of Arab states. “It is important to leave internal affairs to the country’s people as they are best able to manage their own affairs,” he stressed.
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