News, March 2008
Arab Summit in Damascus Underlines Joint Arab Action, renews commitment to Arab solidarity, encourages Lebanon solution
Arab summit underlines joint Arab action
www.chinaview.cn 2008-03-30 22:02:06
DAMASCUS, March 30 (Xinhua) -- The Arab
summit that concluded here on Sunday discussed the mechanism to
effectively carry out joint Arab action, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid
On the disputes between the two Palestinian
factions Fatah and Hamas, Muallem said the summit stressed a
continuation of the Yemen initiative aimed at achieving Palestinian
On the Lebanon issue, Muallem reasserted that the Lebanese national reconciliation was the way out of its current crisis.
Moussa, for his part, described the
atmosphere of the summit as"positive."
The declaration underlines commitment to boosting Arab solidarity in protecting Arab security and overcoming inter-Arab differences through serious dialogue.
It also expresses favor of Arab higher
interests above any differences and Arab willingness to stand together
against political and economic pressures put on any Arab country.
Leaders of pro-western Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan did not show up here for the summit, only sending low-level delegations ina snub to Damascus over its alleged role of blocking the presidential election in Lebanon, accusations denied by Syria. Lebanon boycotted the summit, sending no one here.
Damascus summit renews commitment to Arab solidarity
www.chinaview.cn 2008-03-30 22:49:11
DAMASCUS, March 30 (Xinhua) --
Arab leaders and their representatives Sunday renewed here at the closing session of the 20th Arab Summit commitment to boosting Arab solidarity in protecting Arab security and overcoming inter-Arab differences.
The commitment was reaffirmed in the Damascus Declaration read by Arab League (AL) Secretary General Amr Moussa at the closing session.
It also expresses favor of Arab higher interests above any differences and Arab willingness to stand together against political and economic pressures put on any Arab country.
On the Palestinian issue, the declaration renewed commitment to the Arab peace initiative and called on Israel to accept it.
Meanwhile, the declaration called for holding an extraordinary AL meeting at the level of foreign ministers to evaluate the Middle East peace process.
"The continuation by the Arab side to present the Arab peace initiative is tied to Israel executing its commitments in the framework of international resolutions to achieve peace in the region," the Damascus Declaration said.
It expressed appreciation for Arab efforts, especially those exerted by the Yemeni leadership, in achieving Palestinian reconciliation.
The summiteers also stressed the importance
of Palestinian solidarity and warned against Israel's policies of
imposing siege and increasing violence in the Gaza Strip, adding that
Israeli crimes were crimes of war that required necessary action.
It touches on in particular the recent clashes between Iraqi security troops and Shiite militiamen, calling for an immediate halt of the bloodshed and start of dialogue.
In the declaration, the summiteers also reiterated their commitment to an Arab initiative to help Lebanon defuse political stalemate, calling on the Lebanese factions to support Moussa's efforts to implement the plan.
On Jan. 6, the 22-member pan-Arab bloc endorsed a resolution in Cairo, calling for an immediate election of Army commander Michel Suleiman as president, formation of a national unity government and adoption of a new election law.
Turning to Sudan, the declaration emphasizes the importance of its unity and stability while voicing support to efforts for achieving comprehensive peace and a final settlement in Darfur.
On security track, the Arab leaders condemned all forms of terrorism, calling for holding an international conference under UN supervision to define terrorism, and highlighting the need to differentiate between terrorism and the right to resisting occupation.
They also called for making the Middle East a region free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.
The two-day Damascus summit, starting from midday Saturday in Damascus, brought together only 11 Arab leaders, including President Bashar al-Assad of the host Syria, a mere half of the 22-member pan-Arab bloc.
Pro-Western Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan sent only low-key delegations to the gathering in a snub to Damascus over its alleged role in blocking a Lebanese presidential election. Lebanon boycotted the summit, sending no one here.
Syria calls for joint efforts to encourage Lebanon solution
www.chinaview.cn 2008-03-31 05:52:29
DAMASCUS, March 30 (Xinhua) --
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem on Sunday called on Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to work with his country in efforts to find a solution to the Lebanese political crisis.
Muallem made the remarks at a joint press conference with Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa after the conclusion of the two-day 20th Arab summit here.
"Syria alone, or Saudi Arabia alone, can't find a solution to the Lebanese issue, but by a Syrian-Saudi effort backed by the Arab countries ... we can encourage the Lebanese to conduct a dialogue," Muallem stated.
"The Lebanese issue is basically a Lebanese-Lebanese one," the Syrian top diplomat said, in response to the recent statement of Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal on Lebanon.
"As we talk about sovereignty and independence, let the Lebanese practice their rights in sovereignty and reach a consensus among themselves," Muallem added.
The Lebanese issue has been discussed during the closed-door meeting of the summit, said Muallem, noting that the Arab leaders saw it as not acceptable dealing with this issue in the absence of Lebanon.
"But during the foreign ministers meeting, the Arabs approved the Arab initiative, underlining support to the efforts of Amr Moussa in this regard," he added.
The Arab initiative, which was approved in Cairo in January, calls for the immediate election of army chief Gen. Michel Suleiman as president, formation of a unity government and adoption of an electoral law.
At a news conference on Saturday in Riyadh, Faisal denied that Arab countries were trying to isolate Syria over the Lebanese crisis, describing Syria as "one of the important countries in the region" and part of common Arab action.
He called for Syria's "positive move" to complement the efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia and a number of Arab countries to break the deadlock in Lebanon.
"We hope ... the summit will come up with a solution to the Lebanese crisis in keeping with the Arab League's initiative," said Faisal.
Saudi Arabia, together with Egypt and Jordan, only sent low-level delegations to the Damascus summit in a snub to Syria, which has been blamed of blocking the presidential election in Lebanon, an allegation denied by Damascus. Lebanon boycotted the summit.
Lebanon is currently facing the most serious political deadlock since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war, where the presidential seat has been vacant since last November when former President Emile Lahoud stepped down.
A long-awaited parliamentary session to elect a new president to succeed Lahoud has been postponed for 17 times till April 22 as rival parties fail to iron out their differences.
The Lebanese rivals have agreed on the election of Army Chief Michel Suleiman as president, but still disputed over the make-up of a cabinet after his election and the law governing a general election scheduled for 2009.
Editor: Mu Xuequan
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