The Arab League's Central Office for the Boycott of Israel (OBI) will meet on April 22 in Damascus to resume its activities put on hold eight years ago, a Syrian newspaper said Tuesday, February 13. "The OBI has sent invitations to its liaison officers in all Arab states to attend a meeting on April 22 in Damascus", where its headquarters are located, said the government newspaper Tishrin.
The meeting aims at "reactivating the OBI and putting an end to its paralysis," it added.
Syrian Information Minister Adnan Omran said the Arab ministerial follow-up committee to support the Palestinians had agreed on a "meeting to be held in April to reactivate the boycott." "Syria's point of view is that we must build a unified Arab position based on international resolutions, and undertake measures to support Arab rights," he said in an interview with the BBC, published on Tuesday by the official Syrian Arab News Agency.
Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara on Sunday reiterated his call on Arabs to use the "peaceful weapon of boycott" against Israel to counter the radical policies of Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon on peace. Shara was speaking at the end of the Arab follow-up committee meeting in Jordan. The OBI is currently chaired by a Syrian Commissioner General, Ahmad Khazaa. It has not met on the executive pan-Arab level since April 1993 because of a lack of the required quorum set at two thirds of Arab states.
The office was set up in 1951 with an initial task to update every six months a "black list" of Israeli companies falling under the direct boycott of the Jewish state, or companies dealing with Israel from other countries, falling under the indirect boycott. After the 1991 Gulf War and the launch of the Middle East peace process, most of the Arab states yielded to US pressures and gave up on the indirect boycott. —(AFP)
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