In Pictures: Assad and Zelensky warmly welcomed at Arab League summit
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived at Jeddah airport on Friday to take part in the Arab League summit hosted by Saudi Arabia (Saudi News Agency via AP).
Zelensky addressed Arab leaders who have remained largely neutral on Russia's invasion of his country, including many who maintain warm ties with Moscow. His visit was unannounced and came as a surprise to analysts.
He said: "Even if there are people here at the summit who have a different view on the war, on our land, calling it a conflict, I am sure that we can all be united in saving people from the cages of Russian prisons.
"Unfortunately, there are some in the world, and here among you, who turn a blind eye to those cages and illegal annexations."
Russia's President Vladimir Putin sent a letter to the summit saying Moscow "traditionally attaches great importance to developing friendly relations and constructive partnership cooperation with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa", including members of the Arab League.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is received by the deputy emir of Mecca, Prince Badr bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, as he arrives to attend the Arab League Summit in Jeddah (Saudi News Agency via AP).
Members of the Arab League confirmed their support for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said at the summit that "the Palestinian issue was and still is the central issue of the Arabs" and remains a priority of Saudi foreign policy.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad chats with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ahead of the Arab League summit (Saudi Press Agency via Reuters).
Sisi said that "it has been confirmed to everyone with insight that preserving the national state and supporting its institutions is an imposition and a necessity of life for the future of peoples and their capabilities.
"It is never right that the hopes of our people remain hostage to chaos and external interference, which exacerbates unrest and stagnates efforts to resolve crises," he said.
Tunisian President Kais Saied shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Jeddah during the Arab League summit (Tunisian Presidency via AP).
Saied had previously announced that his government would strengthen ties with Syria, and in February he decided to raise the level of Tunisian diplomatic representation in Damascus, declaring that "the issue of the Syrian regime is an internal matter that concerns Syrians alone".
The emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is accompanied by Prince Badr bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, deputy governor of Mecca, upon arrival at Jeddah airport (Saudi Press Agency via AP).
While many Arab states have pushed for rehabilitation of Syria and its president, Bashar al-Assad, others, including Qatar, have remained opposed to full normalisation without a political solution to the Syrian conflict.
The emir left Jeddah after leading his country's delegation, according to a statement by Qatar's Emiri Diwan distributed to media as Assad was speaking, and did not make his own address.
Syria's official news agency, Sana, reported that the emir shook the hand of Assad prior to entering the main hall of the Arab League summit.
An Arab official told Reuters that the emir did not hold any bilateral meetings and left the summit before Assad spoke.
Leaders of Arab countries pose for a group picture ahead of the Arab summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Saudi Press Agency via AP)
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