2003 News Story

Arab Summit at Sharm Al-Shaikh focuses on Iraqi crisis

Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz left Egypt yesterday after the one-day meeting of the 15th Arab Summit at Sharm Al-Shaikh.

At a press conference yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal announced the Crown Prince's decision to postpone presentation of his special initiative on improving the Arab situation until the next Arab Summit in Tunisia, in order to give Arab leaders the chance to deal with the two pressing issues of Iraq and Palestine. The postponement, he said, would also give them time to study the document thoroughly, because they must be convinced of its credibility and relevance in order to translate the initiative into reality. Prince Saud commented that Crown Prince Abdullah is always reminding the Arab countries about their responsibility and the role they should play, and referred to the Crown Prince's initiative on the Middle East peace process presented at, and adopted by, the Arab summit in Beirut last year.

The final communiqué of the 15th Arab Summit welcomed the Iraqi government's agreement on the return of the UN inspectors; praised international positions in opposition to the use of force against Iraq, reiterating that the dangerous consequences of war would destabilize the region and the world; stressed that the Arab world absolutely rejects any strike against any Arab country, including Iraq; urged a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis within the framework of the United Nations; denounced attempts to impose changes in the region, which amount to intervention in its internal affairs; and declared that disarmament of weapons of mass destruction applies to the whole region, including Israel. The communiqué requested that Bahrain, as chair of the current session, form a committee to make contact with the concerned parties and to consult the Iraqi government in this regard.

While in Egypt, Crown Prince Abdullah received head of the Iraqi delegation to the Summit, Vice President of the Iraqi Revolutionary Council Izzat Ibrahim Al-Doori, at the latter's request.

On the Arab-Israeli conflict, the communiqué renewed adherence to the Arab peace initiative endorsed by the 2002 Beirut Summit, as the basis for a peaceful, just and comprehensive solution. On Arab-Iranian relations, the communiqué welcomed positive indicators such as the exchange of visits between the United Arab Emirates and Iran, stressing its support for finding a solution to the problem of the three UAE islands, Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Moussa.