Palestinian Official: Arab Summit Strengthens Tone of Final Statement after US Veto at UNSC
By Noura Wazani
Albawaba.com - Amman
The final communiqué of the Arab summit which opened its second and final day Wednesday was being given a “a stronger tone,” after the US vetoed a resolution by the UN Security Council to send UN observers to the Palestinian territories, according to Mohammad Odwan, head of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s press office.
The Arab leaders and delegation chiefs resumed the proceedings of the conference which was divided over Iraq, yet ready to make strong political and financial commitments to the Palestinian uprising against Israel.
The session was delayed by almost two hours, as Jordan's King Abdullah II and several heads of state tried to woo Iraq into a compromise solution on its ties with Kuwait.
According to a press release distributed to reporters, a meeting of eight leaders and heads of delegation focused on “finding a reconciliatory formula for agenda items” before the session started.
The meeting involved Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Algerian President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika, Syrian President Bashar Assad, Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Saudi Defense Minister Sultan bin Abdel Aziz, and Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sabah Al Sabah, who were joined later by Hamdan bin Zayed, UAE’s Foreign Minister.
The talks were immediately followed by a meeting by the foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Yemen, Algeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, according to the release, which said the meeting concentrated on accepted solutions to the deadlocked issues.
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 of its territory, which they consider 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 on 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.
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