Arab FMs warn peace offer not on the table ”for ever”
An Arab-backed Middle East peace offer will not be on the table for ever, Arab foreign ministers warned on Saturday. "The peace initiative that is proposed today will not be on offer for a long time," read a copy of the draft declaration obtained by AFP ahead of Arab leaders' annual summit starting in Doha on Monday.
"Arab commitment to this initiative is dependent on an Israeli acceptance of it," the declaration said.
Saudi King Abdullah said during a January Arab economic summit that the Saudi-inspired initiative, which offers full normalisation of ties with Israel in return for its withdrawal from occupied territories, could be withdrawn. The draft declaration reiterated, however, that the peace initiative remains "a strategic Arab choice to achieve just and comprehensive peace."
Arab leaders will meet on Monday amid attempts to overcome rifts stemming largely from responses to Israel's three-week onslaught on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. They will also discuss the growing influence of Shiite Iran in the region.
"We have to live up to our responsibilities and work towards closing ranks," Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani said at Saturday's meeting of foreign ministers.
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