Arab foreign ministers discuss Iraq, ''road map''
Representatives from 12 Arab countries held discussions Tuesday on forging a unified stance on how to deal with Iraq, mainly its U.S.-appointed Governing Council. The ministers, meeting at the headquarters of the Arab League, were also expected to review the U.S.-backed "road map" for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The meeting was part of a follow-up committee formed by the last Arab summit to monitor developments in Iraq and Palestinian territories, SPA reported.
The ministers ruled out a US request to send troops to stabilize Iraq, Arab League secretary general Amr Mussa said. "There was an agreement that (sending) Arab forces cannot be considered in the current circumstances," Mussa told reporters. "We should work to put an end to the occupation and allow the Iraqi people form a national government," he added.
Ahead of the meeting, diplomats said a key item on Tuesday's agenda is how to deal with Iraq's newly formed interim Governing Council. "The Governing Council is a move forward, but Iraqis and not only the occupation authority should probe Iraq's affairs ... and they should move to form a government," Mussa said Monday. He added the ministers would also discuss how to restore Iraq's membership in the league.
The meeting was planned to consider a request from the
acting head of Iraq's Central Bank to transfer assets from
Saddam's regime back to Iraq.
The one-day meeting was attended by the foreign ministers
of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Saudi
Arabia and Syria. Representatives from the Palestinian
Authority, Qatar, Sudan and Tunisia also attended.
In his address , the Syrian Foreign Farouq Al-Shara stressed the importance of putting a new mechanism which enables the Arab states to help the Iraqi people in overcoming their crisis.
He asserted the Arab League and the United Nations’ importance in solving the Iraqi crisis through ending the American occupation and enabling the Iraqi people to practice their right of self-determination under a legitimate government working for the realization of Iraq’s integrity and sovereignty, SANA reported.
Concerning the situation in Palestine, the Syrian minister underlined that "the Israeli policy and aggressive practices contradict with the requirements of the just and comprehensive peace based on the international resolutions asserting Israel’s responsibility for the absence of peace and stability in the region." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)