The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) kicked off a meeting on the Middle East crisis in the Saudi city of Jeddah Friday by denouncing what it described as "savage Israeli aggressions" against the Palestinians, said AFP.
"The savage Israeli aggressions constitute a flagrant violation of international legitimacy," Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Mubarak al-Khalifa said in a short speech opening the two-day meeting.
He called on the international community to "act to put a stop to these aggressions and assure international protection for the Palestinian people," AFP quoted him as saying.
Bahrain currently holds the presidency of the GCC, which also groups Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The ministers continued talks behind closed doors.
A Saudi diplomatic source said Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal would brief the others on his recent Arab tour on the Middle East crisis.
During the tour, which took the minister to Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, Faisal denied several times that he was trying to arrange a summit between US President George W. Bush and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
But in Jordan on Wednesday he said it was time for Washington to shoulder its responsibilities to curb Israeli "aggression" against the Palestinians.
Gulf States Forging Arab Initiative to Curb Israeli Aggression
Reports said that the Gulf states are working on an Arab initiative aimed at ending "Israel's aggression" against the Palestinians, for which they partly blame the United States.
GCC foreign ministers at their two-day meeting "will formulate an Arab initiative based on Saudi ideas which have been the subject of inter-Arab consultations," a diplomat said.
The diplomat said the objective was to persuade the United States to "shoulder its responsibilities in order to halt the Israeli army's carnage against the Palestinians, thus ending the cycle of violence and reviving the Middle East peace process."
Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh told Qatar's Al-Jazeera satellite TV Wednesday night that Saudi Arabia had "proposed new ideas" to end the violence, adding that a Saudi envoy had relayed to him a message from King Fahd.
The proposed initiative will be discussed during an Arab League foreign ministers meeting opening in Cairo Sunday – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )