Saudi king calls for unity

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has called for an end to the international blockade on the Palestinian people and told Arab leaders that sectarian violence was driving Iraq towards civil war.

Saudi king calls for unity

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabiahas called for an end to the international blockade on the Palestinian peopleand told Arab leaders that sectarian violence was driving Iraq towardscivil war.

At the Arab League summit in Riyadh,he urged Arabs to overcome their disputes and unify to face threats in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinianterritories. 


"It has become necessary to end the unjust blockadeimposed on the Palestinian people as soon as possible so that the peace processcan move in an atmosphere far from oppression and force," he said onWednesday. 


Saudi Arabia last month brokered a unitygovernment between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction andHamas, hoping it would help end a Western financial blockade imposed after theIslamist group took office over a year ago.

The summit drew a number of world and Muslim leaders whobacked the Arab plan for renewed Arab-Israeli peace efforts.

Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary-general said in an address:"This initiative sends a signal that the Arabs are serious about achievingpeace."

Riyadh, pressed by its allyWashington to show more leadership in the region, has called on Muslim statesto overcome divisions, arguing a united front will help persuade Israel toaddress Palestinian grievances.

Palestinian focus

King Abdullah stressed that Sunni-Shia violence in Iraq threatenedthe stability of the entire oil-producing Gulf region.

"In beloved Iraq,blood flows between brothers in the shadow of illegitimate foreign occupationand hateful sectarianism, threatening a civil war," he said, in unusuallystrong criticism of the US presencein Iraqfrom a strong ally.

Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, and one ofseveral world figures invited to the summit's opening session, went further bywarning that rising tensions in the Gulf region risked a confrontation thatcould affect the entire world.

"Tensions in the Gulf region are shaping an ominousconfrontation that could have incalculable consequences globally, regionallyand among the Muslim umma [faithful].

"We cannot remain helpless spectators in this and othercrises and conflicts afflicting the Islamic world… We need to join hands towork for solutions on the basis of fairness, justice and realism."

Amr Moussa, head of the Arab League, pressed Israel toaccept unchanged a 2002 Arab initiative being revived at the summit.

"The Israelis' response was to ask for an amendment. Wetell them to accept it first," he said.

The Arab peace plan offers the Jewish state normal ties withall Arab countries if it fully withdraws from land it occupied in 1967, acceptsa Palestinian state and agrees to a "just solution" for Palestinianrefugees.

Israelhas objected to key elements in the plan, including the proposed return to 1967borders, the inclusion of Arab East Jerusalem in a Palestinian state and thereturn of Palestinian refugees to homes in what is now Israel.

No compromise

Ismail Haniya, the Palestinian prime minister urged leadersnot to compromise on the right of refugees to return to homes lost in the turmoilsurrounding the creation of the Israeli state.

"I expect the Arab summit to reiterate the Arabcountries' commitment not to compromise in any way on the Palestinian refugees'right of return under any circumstances."

A final draft resolution calls for a "justsolution" to the problem of Palestinian refugees who fled their homes in1948 but avoids any mention of the phrase "right of return".

Abbas said: "I don't believe there will be anotheropportunity in the future like this."

The Bahraini president of the UN General Assembly became thefirst woman to address an Arab summit on Wednesday as she took the podium atthe opening session in Riyadh.

Haya Rashed Al-Khalifa was the first woman to address anannual summit of the 22-member Arab League since the bloc was formed in 1945.

The 53-year-old was one of the first women to practise lawin Bahrain,where she defended women before Islamic sharia courts.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16