Khatami Criticizes Arab States for Failing to Defend Palestinians
Iranian President Mohammed Khatami lashed out against Arab states Tuesday for failing to defend the Palestinian nation as the latest Middle East violence brought the death toll to near 140, the official IRNA news agency reported.
"I, as a member of an Islamic nation, the head of state and the head of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), have serious complaints against the brothers in the Arab (Cairo) summit. You have not fulfilled the expectations of an Islamic nation," Khatami said.
"Open your ears! Which nation, except the innocent Palestinian nation, has suffered from the injustice brought upon it?" he said.
"Why has the minimum cooperation with the innocent people of Palestine not taken place?" Khatami demanded.
He thanked the few Islamic and Arab nations which have "broken off ties with Israel," referring to Tunisia which has closed down its interests section in Israel, and called on all others "at least, even if they don't support the Palestinians, not to defend the enemy."
On Sunday, during a meeting with visiting OIC chief Ezzedin Laraki, Khatami criticized Arab leaders for "procrastinating" over support for the Palestinians at their Cairo summit.
"Arab leaders have been procrastinating and did not cooperate with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to support Palestine and resolve this problem," he said in the meeting.
Tehran, which holds the 56-nation group's rotating presidency, has been pushing for an emergency meeting of OIC foreign ministers to address the Middle East crisis, insisting it was an Islamic responsibility not just an Arab issue.
Arab leaders at the end of their two-day summit backed the Palestinian uprising and established funds for the victims of clashes with Israeli forces and to ease their economic dependence on Israel.
But they stopped short of scrapping Arab ties with the Jewish state.
Iran does not recognize the Jewish state and its support for Hizbollah guerrillas helped force the Israelis out of southern Lebanon in May after more than two decades of occupation – TEHRAN (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)