Moroccan King Calls Sharon, Urges to Stop Military Operations
Morocco's King Mohammad telephoned Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday to urge Israel to halt military operations against Palestinian cities, amid Arab anger over the encirclement of Yasser Arafat's headquarters.
The king, whose concerns were echoed in diplomatic protests by other Arab countries, also asked the Israeli prime minister to give an assurance that Palestinian President Arafat would not be harmed, a senior official said.
The phone call was the first conversation between an Arab leader and Sharon since Arab League states backed a Saudi-proposed Middle East peace plan at a Beirut summit this month, Reuters reported.
Regarding the Moroccan initiative, the official news agency quoted King Mohammad as telling Sharon: "His Majesty the King held telephone conversations with Ariel Sharon and urged him to halt all military operations in the Palestinian territories...He also insisted on the protection of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat."
The king is chairman of the Jerusalem Committee, a body of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which opens a three-day meeting in Malaysia on Monday expected to be dominated by the Middle East crisis.
On Friday, King Mohammad called on permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to intervene for an end to the Israeli military operations and decried the violent Israeli invasion of the Palestinian occupied territories.
The monarch made the call in separate messages King Mohammad VI sent to Presidents George W. Bush of the USA, Jacques Chirac of France, Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation and Xiang Zemin of China and to British Premier Tony Blair.
"This Israeli invasion comes in the morrow of the adoption, by the leaders of the Arab nation, of a peace initiative that I deem a strategic option guaranteeing peace, stability and security to all the peoples and countries of the Middle East region," said King Mohammad VI, according to MAP. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)