2004 News Story
 

05/23/2004
Prince Saud praises outcome of 16th Arab Summit in Tunis

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal left Tunis today after heading the Kingdom's delegation to the 16th Arab Summit. At a press conference, Prince Saud said Saudi Arabia welcomed the outcome of the Summit, particularly the document ‘Pledge of Accord and Solidarity’ that was prepared for signing by the Arab leaders, praising its credibility and seriousness. At the end of the two-day Summit, the representatives of the 22 members of the League of Arab States pledged in this document to carry out political and social reforms, promote democracy, expand popular participation in politics and public affairs, reinforce women's rights, and expand civil society.

[Full text: THE TUNIS DECLARATION of 16th Arab Summit]

   

On Iraq, the Arab Summit expressed the view that the United Nations should have "a central and effective role in order to end the occupation and arrange the stages of transferring sovereignty to the Iraqi people"; and condemned “the inhumane and unethical crimes and practices committed by troops of the occupation forces against Iraqi detainees", declaring that both the perpetrators and those responsible for the abuses should face trial and denouncing the "terrorist explosions which kill hundreds of innocent Iraqis" as well as the excessive use of force by the occupation troops.

On the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Arab Summit reaffirmed the peace initiative adopted at the 2002 Summit in Lebanon, pledging to gather international support for the proposals, which offer Israel a full peace and normal relations with the Arab world in return for its withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, the creation of a Palestinian State, and a fair solution for the Palestinian refugee problem in line with UN resolutions; and pointed out that no party has the right to change the land-for-peace formula that formed the basis for the Middle East peace process as launched in 1991, saying "any amendment or tampering with the terms of reference of the peace process is an unacceptable pre-emption of the results of negotiations and a violation of the national rights of the Palestinian people".

The Tunis Declaration issued by the Summit states that Arab governments will continue reform and modernization, “keeping up with rapid international changes by reinforcing democratic practices and expanding participation in politics and public affairs". Agreement was reached on a document entitled ‘Pledge of Accord and Solidarity’, which commits the Arab governments to implement Arab League decisions in the interest of guaranteeing a better future for their people and avoiding division and infighting; to resolve inter-Arab conflicts peacefully; to "continue the steps of comprehensive reform in political, economic, social and educational fields in order to achieve sustained development"; to promise "broader participation in public affairs"; to ensure "responsible freedom of expression"; and to strengthen human rights and the role of women "in line with our faith, values and traditions".

 

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