Arab leaders relaunch 2002 peace plan
Arab leaders opened a two-day summit Wednesday to revive a plan for peace with Israel. The Arab summit relaunched the peace plan but has rejected any changes.
In his speech to the annual Arab summit, Saudi King Abdullah slammed the "illegitimate foreign occupation" of Iraq. "In beloved Iraq, blood is being shed among brothers in the shadow of an illegitimate foreign occupation, and ugly sectarianism threatens civil war," Abdullah said, according to AFP.
He also said that Arab nations would not allow any foreign force to decide the future of the region.
If Arab leaders recover trust in each other and regain their credibility, "the winds of hope will blow on the nation, and then, we will not allow forces from outside the region to determine the future of the region, and only the flag of Arabism will be raised on Arab soil," Abdullah said.
"The real blame should be directed at us, the leaders of the Arab nation," he said. "Our constant disagreements and rejection of unity have made the Arab nation lose confidence in our sincerity and lose hope."
Meanwhile, the U.N. chief urged Arab leaders on Wednesday to prove they were serious about peace with Israel. "The Arab peace initiative is one of the pillars for the peace process .... This initiative sends a signal that the Arabs are serious about achieving peace," Ban Ki-moon told Arab leaders, according to Reuters."When I was in Israel I urged my Israeli friends to take a new look at the initiative. Here in Riyadh, I also urge you, my Arab friends, to benefit from this initiative and reiterate your commitment to it because the situation is dangerous."
Earlier, Arab League head Amr Moussa urged Israel to accept the Arab peace initiative rather than ask for changes. "The Israelis response was to ask for an amendment. We tell them (Israelis) to accept it first," Moussa told the summit. "We are at a crossroads, it is either we move towards a real peace or see an escalation in the situation."