First Day of Arab Summit Ends, Arafat Begins Official Meeting With Assad
Arab leaders Tuesday ended the first day of a two-day summit in the Jordanian capital after two three-hour sessions. Meanwhile, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat started the first official meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The summit revolves round three axes: the Arab-Israeli conflict, the problem of Iraq and Arab economic unity.
Principal speakers during the day included Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah II, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Iraqi number two Izzat Ibrahim and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
RECONCILIATORY FORMULA REACHED REGARDING “IRAQI CASE.”
Iraq has agreed to a reconciliatory formula to end its dispute with Kuwait after all efforts to find a solution reached a dead end.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has personally interfered in the dispute and contributed to drafting the resolution.
The details of the document were not revealed but it was reported that it will be read at the summit meeting Wednesday in the form of a “declaration.”
Sources told Albawaba.com later that King Abdullah and Mubarak met separately with Ibrahim, and Kuwait's Al Sabah during the recess between the two sessions, and agreed to include in the declaration a call for lifting the embargo on Iraq, and on a certain formula regarding the Kuwaiti POWs claimed to be held by Iraq.
The summit is the first ordinary gathering of the 22-member Arab League since 1990 and has been preceded by bitter wrangling over bids to forge a common position on Iraq, which has divided Arab ranks this past decade.
Arab foreign ministers toiled for the past three days over a resolution acceptable to Iraq and Kuwait, amid Iraqi demands for unilateral Arab action to lift UN economic sanctions imposed in retaliation for the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
All speakers at the summit Tuesday agreed on the necessity to support the Palestinians in their fight against the sanctions imposed on them by Israel, whose practices were condemned unanimously.
However, blowing life into the peace process is a strategic option that should be given priority within the framework of international resolutions.
Arafat accused Israel of violating “all agreements and conventions,” calling on the Arab leaders to “send a message to the world and Israel” pressing the Jewish state to fulfill its commitments to the UN resolutions regarding the Palestinian rights.
Arafat said that ”what we want as Palestinians and Arabs” is that the summit “sends a message to the world and Israel [stressing] that there will be no compromise on the rights of the Palestinian people to less than the International resolutions which have been decided (they are entitled).”
The president underlined the Palestinian rights as the right of return for the Palestinian refugees, self-determination, and an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Palestinian leader distributed two reports; one American and one Canadian confirming that Israel used depleted uranium in its attacks against his people.
Arafat also called on the Arab states to fulfill their commitment to the financial support of the Palestinians.
For his part, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein called Tuesday on Arab states to mobilize their armed forces to liberate the Palestinian territories, rejecting any deals with Israel.
In a speech read to the Arab summit in Amman by Iraq's number two, Izzat Ibrahim, Saddam told Arab leaders to build "an army of men as concerned to sacrifice themselves as the Zionists are concerned for their lives."
"We do not agree to any deals on Palestine, all of Palestine from the Jordan (river) to the Mediterranean, including Jerusalem, its crown."
Arafat and Bashar
After ten years of severed relations, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat met officially late Tuesday to open a new chapter in their relations, and “forget the past,” as Assad put it in his conference address.
A source told Albawaba.com that the two leaders agreed in a brief meeting during the day that their talks would focus on three axes: the way both countries should deal with the new US administration, standing against Israeli new government, and coordinating Syrian and Palestinian peace negotiation with Israel.
There have been fears that the meeting would not be held due to differences between the two sides.
ARAB ECONOMIC UNITY
President Mubarak elaborated in his speech on three Egyptian proposals aimed at Arab economic unity.
They include the setting up of an Arab Free Trade Zone, holding an economic Arab summit in Cairo later this year and cooperation in the IT field.
The call for Arab economic cooperation was echoed in a number of speeches delivered at the top Arab meeting.
UNANIMOUS AGREEMENT ON AMR MOUSSA AS NEW SECRETARY OF ARAB LEAGUE
According to Jordan’s Information Minister, Taleb Rifai, there was a unanimous consent over the nomination of Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa to succeed his compatriot Esmat Abdel Meguid as the Secretary General of the Arab League.
Moussa is believed to have the capacity to run the organization “with a new vision,” as put by Moroccan FM Mohammad Bin Issa in an interview with Albawaba.com.
KADHAFI REFUSES HIS SPEECH TO BE BROADCAST LIVE
Libyan Leader Muammar Kadhafi decided to deliver his speech behind closed doors at the Arab summit after his request to be the first speaker at the evening meeting was denied Tuesday.
According to a source at the Jordan TV, transmission was ceased until Kadhafi finished with his speech before the other leaders took their turn and addressed the conference on air.
“That’s why we had to cut the transmission until he finished,” the source said.
Another source, a director at JTV, said that a verbal fight took place between the Egyptian and the Sudanese delegations.
He gave no further details – Albawaba.com
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