Arab summit ends with calls for Israel to adopt peace plan
Arab leaders urged world powers on Thursday to use an Arab peace plan to relaunch efforts to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Palestinian president warned of more violence if the "hand of peace" was rejected.
Speaking on the final day of an Arab summit in Riyadh, Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel not waste the chance for peace, and called for a committee led by Saudi Arabia to pursue it. "I reiterate the sincerity of the Palestinian will in extending the hand of peace to the Israeli people ... We should not waste more chances in the history of this long and painful cause," he told the closing ceremony.
"The entire region will be under renewed threats of war, explosions, as well as regional and international confrontations, as a result of the absence of a solution or the impossibility of implementing one," Abbas added, according to Reuters.
The final communique at the close of Thursday's session affirms "just and comprehensive peace as a strategic option for the Arab nation in accordance with the Arab peace initiative," and based on "the land for peace" formula.
"The Arab world is at a crossroads," Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said, according to the AP. "It is confronting crises and dangerous challenges, from the stagnation of the peace process, the situation in Iraq, Lebanon's political crisis and the escalating international standoff with Iran."
On his part, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani vowed in his speech to give more power to Iraqi Sunnis but also called on Arab nations to help stem violenece in Iraq and forgive Iraqi debt. "We are also of the opinion that the base of the political process should be widened," he said.
The summit communique also warns of the danger of growing sectarianism and calls for a region free of weapons of mass destruction, though it says all states have a right to peaceful nuclear power.