Preparations For Arab Summit Start Under Heavy Security; Report: Saudi Plan Offers Israel '\'Normal Peaceful Relations'\
Arab ministers have started preparations under heavy security in Beirut for next week's highly anticipated Arab summit which will determine the fate of a ground-breaking Saudi initiative for peace with Israel.
High-ranking Arab officials debate the agenda for Monday's gathering of Arab foreign ministers and the official summit later in the week. Accprding to AFP, the Arab diplomats will start Monday to draft the final statement for the annual Arab summit on March 27-28, where the Saudi proposal is inclined to dominate discussion among the Arab League's 22 member states.
Arriving in Beirut from Cairo on Friday, the Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa said the Saudi initiative had "strong chances of being adopted unanimously." Mussa also said that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat might still attend the Arab summit after being confined by Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Ramallah for nearly four months.
"There is still a possibility that President Arafat will attend the summit, but there are also obstacles," Mussa told journalists. "Arafat is besieged by the forces of Israeli occupation, who will permit him to leave the occupied territories but who may stop him from returning."
Meanwhile, the Saudi initiative for Middle East peace offers Israel "normal peaceful relations" in exchange for a withdrawal from Arab territories, according a draft of the never detailed plan published Saturday by a Lebanese daily.
As-Safir reported the initiative, entitled "Palestinian file," would be presented as an "independent resolution" to be adopted at the two-day Arab summit.
As-Safir noted that the Saudi initiative included nothing about "right to resistance" or "backing of the intifada" against Israeli occupation. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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