Khadhafi’s withdrawal threat undermines Arab League’s economic foundations
Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi has decided to pull out of the 22-member Arab League in response to the grouping’s inefficiency in dealing with the crises in the Palestinian Territories and Iraq.
Fearing a domino effect that could bring the complete collapse of the organization, the body’s Secretary General Amr Mussa hurried to Tripoli on Saturday to convince Kadhafi to remain in the League. “…Libya remains a member of the Arab League… its withdrawal request will not be implemented for the moment," Mussa told Al-Jazeera following his visit.
Khadafi’s harshest criticism of the Arab League is its failure to deliver its assistance package to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The group agreed to provide the PA with $55 million in monthly assistance during its last Beirut summit, held in March. Aid was to be distributed from May to September. Assistance for the six-month period totaled $145 million, less than half their $330-million commitment. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman were the only members to have disbursed their full share of the assistance.
Libya provides the Arab League with 10.3 percent of its funding, amounting the $3.3 million annually. However, due to rising dissatisfaction with the organization, the nation has not filled its financial quotas and instead is $20 million indebted to the League.
The North African country also threatened to leave the organization in 1998 because of the “defeatist” attitude of Arab states toward United Nations (UN) sanctions imposed on Tripoli over the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing. Kadhafi then began focusing on relations with non-Arab African states.
The idea of an African Union was first suggested by Kadhafi at the 35th Organization of African Unity (OAU) Algiers summit in 1999. He pushed through the Sirte declaration later that year, calling for the establishment of the African Union, which later led to the establishment of the African Economic Community (AEC).
Kadhafi assumed the leadership role in the newly formed African Union, a position he believed had been denied to him in the Arab League. Critics have said that one of his main purposes for pushing forward African Unity is his desire to be named the continent’s first president. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)