Iraq: Arab Summit must Cover Palestinian Question Only
The Middle East summit, which opens on Saturday in Cairo must be devoted solely to the Palestinian question, an Iraqi official said Thursday, meaning Iraq will not raise the issue of the decade-old UN sanctions.
"Iraq wants the summit to be devoted to a single question -- Palestine, the Intifada and Jerusalem -- and nothing else," said Salem al-Qabissi, chairman of parliament's Arab and international affairs commission told AFP.
Baghdad would block "the addition of any other question to the summit agenda, which would dissipate efforts and lead to disunity," he said.
The statement echoed that of Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf, who said on arriving Wednesday for the preparatory foreign ministers' meeting in Cairo that the summit should be "devoted heart and soul to supporting the Palestinian struggle."
It means Iraq will not bring up the issue of United Nations sanctions against Baghdad which have been in force since it invaded Kuwait in 1990, causing a deep divide in Arab ranks. Iraq has strongly criticized Arab states for not busting the crippling sanctions.
Qabissi did however demand that the Cairo summit "meet the aspirations of the Arab peoples", following the outpouring of support across the Middle East for the Palestinian uprising against Israel in the last three weeks.
"We hope the resolutions of the Arab summit will match the gravity of the situation and the challenge of enemies," he added.
Iraq opposes the Middle East peace process and has called for a jihad or holy war against Israel.
Baghdad has been invited to the Cairo meeting and said it will attend, although it was left out of the last Arab summit in 1996 in the aftermath of the Gulf war – BAGHDAD (AFP)
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