SWEIMEH, Jordan - Arab leaders looked to overcome divisions and “foreign interference” on regional crises including the devastating wars in Syria and Yemen as they met Wednesday for an annual summit in Jordan.

A show of unity was expected on the Israeli-Palestinian question, but on other issues analysts said any breakthrough was highly unlikely.

As the summit of the 22-member Arab League opened in Sweimeh on the Dead Sea coast, Jordan’s King Abdullah II suggested that failing to come together would expose the region open to outside influence. “We need to take the initiative to find solutions to all the challenges we face in order to avoid foreign interference in our affairs,” he said.

Arab leaders have been unable to find common ground on how to end Syria’s conflict, which in six years has killed more than 320,000 people and forced millions from their homes.

Various Arab nations support different proxy forces on the ground and there is disagreement on the future of President Bashar al-Assad, whose participation in the league has been suspended since 2011. While some say Assad must go for any peace deal, others, including Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, have not insisted on his departure as a condition for a political agreement.

The divisions have allowed other nations including Iran, Russia and Turkey to take the diplomatic initiative. Arab League head Ahmed Abul Gheit said he regretted the fact member states were watching “events in Syria without the possibility of intervening,” calling the conflict “shameful”. Visiting a refugee camp in Jordan ahead of the summit, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for differences to be set aside.

“Arab unity is a very important element in order to allow this region to be stabilised and for... the Syrian refugees to find again a future that corresponds to their aspirations,” he said.

Talks are expected on a range of other issues including efforts against the Islamic State group, the war in Yemen, unrest in Libya and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On the Palestinian question, the leaders are set to oppose plans by US President Donald Trump to move Washington’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and consider alternatives to a Palestinian state.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told leaders on Wednesday he would refuse to accept “temporary or regional” attempts to solve the conflict.

A draft summit statement, drawn up by the Palestinian delegation and obtained by AFP, says the league’s members “reaffirm their commitment to the two-state solution”. Since taking office in January, Trump has sent mixed signals over how he will address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including a break with decades of US policy by saying he would be open to a one-state solution if it meant peace.

Abbas is expected to visit the White House next month, after a visit by Sisi scheduled for April 3. Abdullah is also expected in Washington soon.

Jordanian officials have stressed fighting “terrorism” as a major theme of the summit, in particular the threat from IS which is facing US-backed offensives in Iraq and Syria.

“Arab and Muslim countries must unite their efforts to combat terrorism,” Abdullah said in his address. On Yemen, regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia will be looking for more support for the coalition it launched two years ago to intervene in support of government forces against Iran-backed rebels.

The Huthi rebels have seized control of large parts of the Arabian Peninsula nation. Continued fighting has left thousands dead and raised fears of famine.

Riyadh has been frustrated by a lack of willingness by some Arab nations to back the coalition, in particular from key military power Egypt.

The Saudis cut off oil shipments to Egypt in October, apparently in connection with disagreements on Yemen and Syria, though the shipments resumed this month.

Addressing the summit, Sisi said it was “regrettable that certain powers are benefitting from the unprecedented situation in the region to bolster their influence and expand their control” - an apparent reference to Iran’s role in the conflicts.

Previous Arab League summits have seen little progress in overcoming divisions and analysts were expecting more of the same. “I think this summit won’t be any different,” said Oraib al-Rantawi, head of the Al-Quds Centre for Political Studies.

“The Arab (political) system is weak, divided and has been plagued by defects for years,” he said. “No breakthrough is expected.” Also in attendance was Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged genocide and war crimes in Darfur. Human Rights Watch urged Jordan to arrest him, saying it “has the chance to show its commitment to victims of heinous atrocities in Darfur”.