Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak yesterday received Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal and other foreign ministers of the Damascus Declaration countries participating in their 17th session in Cairo. At a press conference, responding to a question on the possibility of activation of the agreement on the duty-free zone, Prince Saud Al-Faisal said it was possible, and expressed hopefulness that a joint agreement would be reached on the steps to be taken in this respect. On opening dialogue with Iraq, Prince Saud declared that this requires implementation by Iraq of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
In a joint statement at the end of their meeting, the foreign ministers of the states of the Damascus Declaration urged the need for convening an Arab Summit as soon as possible in order to help boost Arab solidarity.
The ministers extended greetings to the people of Lebanon on their victory, achieved after a brave struggle and long resistance. They praised Syria for standing firm at their side, and welcomed United Nations efforts in southern Lebanon to implement Security Council resolution 425.
The ministers stressed the need for Iraq to comply with the UN resolutions relating to its occupation of Kuwait, particularly the release of prisoners of war, and urged Iraq to refrain from any provocative or aggressive actions against any neighboring country. In this respect, they called on the Iraqi government to help ease the suffering of the Iraqi people, and asked the sanctions committee to respond to Iraq's humanitarian demands.
As for Iran, the ministers underlined the need to solve all problems standing in the way of improving its relations with the Arab world, and once more attested to the sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates over its three islands.
The foreign ministers confirmed their commitment to the Arab Anti-Terrorism Agreement, and called on the international community to employ every effort to challenge this phenomenon that threatens world security and stability.
The statement expressed support of the Egyptian-Libyan initiative on the situation in the Sudan, and called on all Sudanese parties to respond positively to it in order to realize security and stability in the country.
Concerning the ongoing war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the ministers expressed deep concern and called on the two parties to implement an immediate cease-fire and resort to peaceful means to settle their dispute.
The ministers stressed that the Palestinians should have restored to them all their national rights in accordance with resolutions 242 and 338, the Madrid conference, and related international decisions, including the establishment of their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. Moreover, they renewed their call that the Middle East region be free of weapons of mass destruction and that all countries in the region, without exception, join the non-nuclear proliferation treaty.