2003 News Story

Arab and information ministers hold joint meeting

Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz left Tunis yesterday after chairing the 20th conference of interior ministers of the League of Arab States, the final session of which was held jointly with the Arab League's information ministers, and attended by Minister of Information Dr. Fuad Al-Farsi. At a press conference with Secretary-General of the Arab League Amr Mousa, Prince Nayef commented that there is a need in the Arab world for greater freedom for the press, but also that it is the responsibility of the Arab media to clarify information and defend Arab causes. He affirmed that the Arab countries had some time ago formulated an agreement to combat terrorism, and urged the international community and the American media to be accurate in their reports, commenting on the irrationality of condemning 250 million Arabs for a crime committed by 19 persons.

Addressing the joint meeting yesterday, Prince Nayef stressed the need for the united efforts of society's various institutions in order to maintain security, and called for a framework to ensure that information organs are capable of confronting unexpected dangers. Commenting on the consequences of crimes of violence and terrorism, and highlighting Islam's tolerance, he urged that all should learn from past mistakes, join together in the service of common interests, and deepen contacts with others based on mutual respect and understanding.

The communiqué of the one-day joint meeting called for greater coordination between the ministerial councils, interior and information, aimed at protecting Arab society against organized crime; urged cooperation to combat the phenomenon of terrorism; expressed support for an international conference to be held under the auspices of the United Nations in order to discuss the phenomenon, especially to differentiate between terrorism and the right of oppressed people to struggle for liberation; and denounced accusations that terrorism is connected with Arab and Muslim culture, asserting the Arab League's categorical rejection of all forms of terrorism, violence and extremism.

The communiqué asserted that the Arab countries are committed to maintaining the security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq as an integral part of the Arab world; and rejected any strike against any Arab country as a threat to all. The communiqué also called for lifting the unjustified embargo against Libya following its compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions; urged the UN Security Council to make the Middle East, without exception, free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms; praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people; and called on the international community to afford them protection against the state terrorism practiced by Israel, by putting pressure on Israel to lift the siege against the Palestinian Authority and implement the relevant United Nations resolutions calling for an end of the aggression, withdrawal of Israel from all Arab occupied territories to the June 1967 line, and establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds [East Jerusalem] as its capital.