Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz left Amman today after leading the Saudi delegation to the Arab Summit, which issued a communiqué at the conclusion of its deliberations.
During the Summit, the Arab leaders unanimously endorsed the nomination of Egyptian foreign minister Amr Musa as the next Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, for a five-year term. A career diplomat who has been Egypt's foreign minister since 1991, he will be the sixth Arab League Secretary-General since the establishment of the organization in 1945.
The Arab leaders also issued the 'Amman Declaration', in which they pledged adherence to holding regular annual Arab Summits in order to maintain joint Arab efforts, stressing the ties that bind them, the principles of the Arab League's Charter, and preservation of national Arab security based on mutual respect for territorial sovereignty, non-interference in each others' internal affairs, prohibition of the use of force or the threat of it, and resort to dialogue for settlement of disputes. Arab solidarity, they declared, is essential in order to achieve economic integration. The leaders also affirmed their full support for the Palestinians, the Syrians and the Lebanese in their struggle to regain their legitimate rights, stressing the need for Israel to withdraw from all occupied Arab territories, notably Al-Quds [Jerusalem], the Syrian Golan Heights, and the remaining locations in Lebanon, as the only way to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. They also stressed the need to end the sufferings of the Iraqi people, demanding the lifting of the sanctions and a solution to the inhumane results of the crisis such as the issues of the missing and prisoners of war.
At the end of the session, King Abdullah of Jordan, expressing satisfaction at the outcome of the conference, declared that the foundation had been laid for joint Arab efforts with the decision to hold a Summit every year, irrespective of any differences or emergencies. The next Summit, he said, will take place in Beirut, Lebanon.
Outgoing Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Dr. Esmat Abdulmajeed also read the Summit's decision to delegate King Abdullah of Jordan to conduct consultations with Arab leaders to review the Kuwait-Iraq issue in the interests of Arab solidarity. The head of Kuwait's delegation expressed support of this decision. In reply to a question put to him by Abu Dhabi television last night on settlement of the Kuwait-Iraq dispute, Prince Sultan said: "We don't believe in crises. We are convinced that all problems can be settled."
In his address to the Summit, Prince Sultan called on the United Nations Security Council to recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and on the sponsors of peace in the Middle East to work for an end to the Israeli siege. He urged Israel to re-start the process of negotiations from where it stopped, and to withdraw from the Golan Heights and the Shaba'a farms. He also called for a Palestinian State to be established with Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital, and for Palestinian refugees to be able to return to their homeland. He stressed the need to extend all forms of support to the Palestinians to enable them to preserve their identity and that of Al-Quds. Prince Sultan also called for making the Middle East a region free from all weapons of mass destruction and urged Israel to join the treaty for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. He urged Iran to respond positively to the Summit's call to settle through peaceful means its dispute with the United Arab Emirates over the three islands. He called on the Arab World to develop a mechanism for joint economic effort, urging the lifting of customs barriers and activation of the agreement on joint investment in order to face the phenomenon of globalization. He noted that the Arab World looks to a fruitful outcome of the Summit, hoping that its resolutions will be at the level of the challenges it faces.
Meanwhile, Prince Sultan met separately with a number of Arab leaders, including Palestinain President Arafat, President Mubarak of Egypt, President Hassan of Somalia, President Al-Basheer of Sudan, Pesident Zein Al-Abdine bin Ali of Tunisia, and President Othman Ghazzali of Comoros. He also met with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Earlier today, he participated in a consultative meeting of nine representatives of Arab countries, with King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria, President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, President Abdulaziz Boutaflika of Algeria , Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jabir Al-Sabah of Kuwait, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Zaid Al-Nahayan of the United Arab Emirates. They discussed ways of coordinating to reach decisions on a number of issues on the Summit's agenda.