Arab League Bids to Reconcile Iraq, Kuwait at Islamic Summit
Arab League chief Esmat Abdel Meguid said Saturday that efforts were underway at the Islamic conference in Doha to launch a process of reconciliation between sworn foes Kuwait and its former occupier Iraq.
"Efforts are underway for a reconciliation between Iraq and Kuwait, and I wish them success," the League secretary general told reporters ahead of a summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) that starts on Sunday.
Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani said Thursday that he would contact the Iraqi and Kuwaiti delegations to discuss their conflict, which he said would be kept off the summit agenda to avoid discord.
His announcement came after the two countries were at the center of a stormy session of preparatory talks at the level of experts in the Qatari capital during which they traded insults, according to delegates.
"There is a good chance of reaching a compromise and preserving the good climate at the heart of the conference," Sheikh Hamad said.
Baghdad, meanwhile, has called for the summit to focus entirely on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and said the Iraqi delegation would not raise its campaign for a lifting of sanctions in force since the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
An original draft resolution that was to have been submitted to the OIC heads of state by their foreign ministers called -- as in past OIC meetings -- for Iraq to implement UN Security Council resolutions to secure a lifting of UN sanctions.
But Qatar is among the growing number of countries to support Iraq's case that the time has come to end the embargo, which has remained in place for the past decade despite Iraq's ouster from Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War.
Kuwait is to be represented at the summit by Foreign Minister Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah while Iraq's President Saddam Hussein, who has not traveled abroad since the invasion, has sent his second-in-command, Ezzat Ibrahim – DOHA (AFP)
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