Mubarak Says Arab Summit not Likely before First Week of January
It will probably take three months to organize an emergency Arab summit aimed at dealing with the violence that erupted over the Jerusalem holy sites, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Tuesday.
Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a joint appeal Monday for a summit of Arab leaders to deal with bloody clashes that have claimed more than 50 Palestinian lives in five days.
"The first week in January is the closest and most likely date to hold the Arab summit," the Egyptian leader told the state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA).
He said Egypt was ready "to host a summit immediately" but "in light of contacts underway," it was more likely that a summit would occur after the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
However, he added, "we must immediately begin preparations for this summit."
Mubarak said he had received a telephone call on Sunday from the emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah, ensuring his participation in the summit.
He also said that his and Assad's appeal was "greeted favorably by a large number of Arab states."
The United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian leadership, Jordan and Lebanon have also backed a summit in the wake of the clashes in Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Israel proper.
Mubarak recalled that even before the violence, a decision had been taken for Arab foreign ministers to meet here October 21-22 to prepare for a regular summit.
On Tuesday the Arab League backed the call for an emergency summit.
"This summit will be a historic step in the process of Arab solidarity with Jerusalem and a clear message of Arab rejection for the Israeli occupation of the holy city and territories occupied in 1967," the league's secretary general Esmat Abdel Meguid said.
During his press conference with Assad on Monday, Mubarak called for a summit to meet "as quickly as possible" after he recounted how disturbed he had been at seeing television footage of a boy dying in his father's arms in Gaza - CAIRO (AFP)
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