Last-Ditch Efforts at Amman Summit to Reach Consensus on Iraq-Kuwait Conflict
Six Arab leaders, in addition to Saudi Defense Minister Sultan bin Abdel Aziz and Iraq’s number two, Izzat Ibrahim, were meeting to hammer out a last-minute deal on the “Iraqi Case,” to reach a resolution on the conflict between the two arch foes.
King Abdullah of Jordan, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Algerian President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika and Libyan leader Muammar Kadhafi in addition the Abdel Aziz were meeting with Ibrahim to persuade him to accept a reconciliatory resolution.
The Wednesday session was delayed for an hour to give room for the negotiations.
Iraq was reported Tuesday to have agreed to a proposal 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.
However, contradictory reports said Wednesday morning that Iraq is still refusing the suggested resolution.
Iraq wants the Arab states to unilaterally lift the decade-long sanctions imposed on it by the UN.
Sources told Albawaba.com Tuesday 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.
AFP reported that King Abdullah II of Jordan and his prime minister, Ali Abu Ragheb, led the initiatives, meeting with Ibrahim, "in a final attempt to push Iraq to accept the resolution," an Arab official told AFP.
Kuwait has accepted the three-point draft resolution, but Iraq was still holding out, said the agency.
"The resolution will be senseless if Iraq does not adopt it, since it sets guidelines for its relations with Kuwait," the official said.
The draft, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, calls on Iraq and Kuwait to mutually respect the other's territorial integrity and the principle of non-interference and the non-use of force.
It also calls on Iraq to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions adopted since its invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the subsequent US-led Gulf war that drove Baghdad's troops from the emirate.
It also calls for a lifting of crippling UN economic sanctions that have been in force on Baghdad ever since and the resumption of commercial flights in and out of Iraq.
The draft also satisfies Iraqi calls for an end to British and US air patrols over its territory, which they consider to be outside the framework of the Security Council resolutions.
But the draft stops short of backing an Iraqi request for a unilateral Arab lifting on the sanctions in defiance of the United Nations.
Iraq's deputy prime minister and top political strategist, Tareq Aziz, late Tuesday told reporters the resolution was "unacceptable,” said AFP.
"What has been proposed until now is not acceptable," Aziz said at the conclusion of the first day of the first ordinary Arab summit since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
But he conceded that consultations would continue Wednesday.
Unless there is a "last minute surprise on the part of Iraq, the summit will come up with a series of other resolutions that have been unanimously adopted by (all) the Arab countries," the official said.
The summit will reaffirm Arab political and financial support for the Palestinian uprising against Israel as well as denounce the new Israeli government's hawkish view of peace.
It will also adopt steps to integrate Arab economies.
Fifteen Arab heads of state and seven delegation chiefs from the 22-member Arab League are attending the summit – Albawaba.com
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