Qatar urges Arab countries to attend WTO conference in Doha
A Qatari newspaper urged Arab countries Tuesday, July 17, to attend a World Trade Organization (WTO) conference in Doha, which Israel is also expected to attend.
"Arab countries have a stake in attending the WTO conference in Doha, irrespective of the presence or non-presence of Israel. A boycott of this major meeting would work in the interests of the Jewish state," said Al-Sharq newspaper, which has close ties with Qatar's government.
"Otherwise, how do Arab countries think they will face up to economic globalization, which has become a reality impossible to avoid?" asked the paper.
Qatar has frozen ties with Israel, whose trade office in Doha was closed down last November on the eve of an Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit there amid criticism from other Arab and Islamic countries.
Sheikh Hamad Bin Faisal Al-Thani, head of the Qatari committee helping to organize the conference, confirmed Friday that Israeli will take part in the meeting.
Sheikh Hamad said Qatar had received no objection from any Arab or Islamic country to Israel's presence at the conference, taking place November 9-13.
Qatar froze its ties with Israel following the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada, the uprising against Israeli occupation, which began at the end of September and is still raging.
Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb said Monday his country would attend the meeting regardless of any Arab decision. ― (AFP, Doha)
© Agence France Presse 2001
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