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Saudi Arabia - Israel Relations: Joint Press Conference H.R.H. Prince Saud Al Faisal, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia And H.E. Amr Mousa, Secretary General of the Arab League

(March 26, 2007)

Below can be found the text of a joint press conference held on March 26, 2007, with the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud Al Faisal, and the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Mousa presiding. During the press conference the two officials discussed their recent meeting, in preparation for the upcoming 19th Ordinary Session of the Arab League Council at the Summit Level. Faisal and Mousa fielded questions from the audience addressing various topics of interest in the Middle East from the expected attendance at the conference, to the crises in Lebanon and Iran, to their recent meetings with U.S. officials, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Prince Saud Al Faisal:
In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Today, with Their Excellencies Arab Foreign Ministers and His Excellency the Secretary General of the Arab League, we held the Preparatory Meeting of the 19th Ordinary Session of Arab League Council at the Summit Level. During the expanded working sessions that aim at preparing for the Summit, draft resolutions and reports to be presented to the Summit were developed and reviewed, together with the draft agenda to be forwarded to the Arab leaders for perusal and adopting the necessary resolutions thereon.

No doubt, the nature of the extremely critical and sensitive situation witnessed in our Arab arena and preoccupies the minds of us all, at the official and popular levels, were the primary issues that were examined today. These included tackling developments of the political issues in Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Darfur, Somalia, and the nuclear file crisis in the region. In addition, we discussed the economic aspects and the general strategies of joint Arab action in the light of the recommendations forwarded by the Economic and Social Council.

The draft resolutions dealt with the Arab national security in its comprehensive perspective, which is not confined to military affairs, preserving territorial integrity and sovereignty, but also include security, economic, cultural and civilization aspects. Draft resolutions called upon creation of a mechanism to resolve intra-Arab disputes. Experience proved specially and undoubtedly, the ability of Arab sincere effort to solve Arab issues within Arab house, and far away from any foreign interventions.

In this framework, the drafted resolutions also give due attention to educational, cultural and scientific aspects to strengthen the cultural attributes of Arab nation and to protect them against all attempts aiming at affecting and undermining them.

These are generally all the issues related to aspects and mechanisms of joint Arab action that will be presented before our leaders.

We pray to God to crown the Arab leaders' serious endeavors with success to achieve the aspirations of their peoples to protect our Arab homeland, develop it and boost its national security, and strengthen its unity and identity.

Question: Your Highness! Has the size of participation at the level of leaders in the Summit become clear by now? Your Excellency, the Secretary General! It seems there is a clear moving backward in handling the Lebanese file. Lebanon’s problem has not been solved as statements said in the recent period before the Arab Summit. These are severe crisis and division. How the Lebanese file is going to be dealt with? The reporter asked for facilitating unrestricted access to meet the people in the meeting.

Minister Al Faisal: Attendance is high. I do not want to enumerate those who have not come. Anyhow, the picture will be clear tomorrow, which is so near for anyone who awaits it.

As for facilities [for the reporters], attendance is for the Ministerial Council. It has nothing to do save drafting resolutions and forwarding them to the Summit. The Ministerial Council cannot talk about the draft resolutions until approved by the Summit. All of you will be present at the Summit venue; King Abdulaziz International Center for Conferences. You will have a place there, and you may interview whoever wants to meet you. But the choice is up to the heads of state. Contacting them will be easy.

Secretary General Mousa: As regards the question on the situation in Lebanon, reference to increasing divisions may be rather exaggerated, but division is continued. The situation in Lebanon that we tried and are still trying to handle is still as it is. However, I tell you that there is a draft resolution discussed at the ambassadorial and ministerial levels, being developed for discussion at the Summit level in the closed session of examining the situation in Lebanon.

Minister Al Faisal: If you allow me, the general approach of the Summit will be not to convey the Lebanese conflict to the Summit, but to strive to solve the Lebanese problem and making them look at the cause from a national perspective and finding solutions. This is what we hope the Lebanese brothers would pursue.

Question: Will extreme importance be attached to the nuclear file particularly if an aggression on Iran took place? Will the Arab nation take a stand in this critical issue? There are external threats to Iran due to the nuclear file reviewed in this Summit.

Minister Al Faisal: Our view of the nuclear file is having the Middle East region free of weapons of mass destruction, without selectivity or exceptions. This means that this resolution includes Israel, reserving right of countries of the region and other world countries to possess the nuclear expertise. It is not permissible to deprive ourselves, as the Secretary General said, of this science, and apply on us measures not applied by IAEA. It is supposed to seek expertise in this regard. This is allowed to whoever wants to use this energy for peaceful means.

Question: Your Highness, you have kindly said that the Lebanese have to solve their problems themselves. But it seems that the Lebanese are unable to solve the internal problem themselves. Has Saudi Arabia left alone the Lebanese file? Your Excellency Secretary General, you have paid intensive visits to Lebanon. Is there still hope to find a solution to Lebanese internal crisis?

Minister Al Faisal: Nobody has unhanded the Lebanese issue. Everybody strives to a solution to the differences that make sleepless all Lebanese and all Arabs at the same time. What we want to evade, is that differences do not bear on the conference venue. Conversely, we seek that the conference will have the influence in finding formulae for solutions to be accepted by the Lebanese. This will not happen until conviction emanates from the Lebanese themselves. Whatever we do, we cannot decide on behalf of the Lebanese anything. We support the effort exerted by the Secretary General in this regard. We hope that in the aftermath of this summit session, these endeavors would be renewed, and that Lebanese would accept the proposals given.

Secretary General Mousa: Efforts with Lebanon will be resumed as soon as the summit is ended. Discussions are also active within the summit, today and yesterday and the coming few days about Lebanon’s issue, in addition to other issues.

Question: As for the meetings of Condoleezza Rice with the [Arab] Quartet before the [Summit] conference, are there any American dictations in the Palestinian issue, Iraqi situation, and Iranian issue? Are there direct dictations? What are the strategies presented and not announced in public?

Minister Al Faisal: Actually, there was nothing of this sort. What happened; she asked to come to the region to talk to the Arab quartet. Time was tight and she advanced her visit taking this situation into consideration. Mr. president called leaders of the four countries to stress continuity of USA efforts toward peace based on two-state solution, both independent neighbors, living side by side in peace according to his perspective. Her Excellency, Secretary of State requested to be allowed to inform these states of the efforts that USA will make. This is what happened. This is what she presented. We informed Ms Rice that the [summit] conference will consider Arab affairs with an independent Arab view and will discuss items on its agenda from a pure Arab perspective.

Question: It is clear that the Arab position is as it is since Beirut 2002. Do you think, this time, the Summit will have an output that indicates practically with specific mechanisms to collective Arab move to activate this initiative in a way that forces Israel to accept it, and allow the international community to accept it, and will we see an end to this conflict that lasted 60 years?

Minister Al Faisal: It is not true that nothing new emerged. There is something new, a very important in my own opinion, in this issue, i.e. unity of the Palestinian position. Integration between the Palestinian and Arab positions , and agreement of the two sides on the common Arab position and Palestinian action, are undergoing. This new development has not taken place before. With what they have done, I think the Arab countries could prove their ability to close their ranks, and solve their problems and differences positively. No in a way antagonistic to people, but in one that maintains their interests and strives to meet their ends. This is something new in the joint Arab action. This makes us optimistic that it is the turn of Arab countries to receive international consensus in supporting their plan, instead of having the minority among the international community. What happened on the Palestinian arena is something great. The agreement concluded in Mecca suggests many and good things for the Arab nation. Fore this perspective, we are optimistic God’s willing.

Question: If their intention is to re-affirm the initiative as it is, is there a timeframe to the initiative to be accepted by the international community?

Minister Al Faisal: As you know, the initiative itself has a mechanism to promote and seek acceptance. The first step in this direction is to register it officially with the UN. This is what will happen to be a reference for peace in the Middle East. There is talk; I do not claim that I limit it. Nevertheless, everybody ask the Arab countries to revive the Arab initiative. Thus, I believe there is international exhaustive conviction on the need to activate this initiative. The summit will look unto this attitude. It will look unto methods to develop joint Arab action to promote this initiative and act upon start of real negotiations on the real bases of solution, i.e. 67 borders, repatriation of Palestinians and Jerusalem issue, and other conditions mentioned in Beirut agreement.

Question: Your Highness, Your Excellency, Israel does not want to recognize the current Palestinian government. There is sort of ambiguity with regard to political position of Hamas and the current Palestinian government because Hamas is not ready to recognize Israel. Of course this is leads Israel to not deal with the current government. How will this conference, how will you and Mr. Amr Mousa deal with issue?

Minister Al Faisal: We are not talking now about Hamas or Fatah. We are talking about the Palestinian national government. If you refer to the documents signed in Mecca, this government is concerned with laying down the political framework  to keep the national rights of the Palestinian people. Ambiguity might prevail on the Palestinian position when there were differences in opinions between this or that organization. Now, there is a national unity government responsible for determining the Palestinian approach in this regard. If there is something I want to say on this topic, it is that we have to wait issuance of Summit resolutions to see the real, clear, unambiguous, and transparent position of the Palestinian government at the same time.

Question (In French): Would you explain to us your opinion on changing the peace initiative proposes from the Arab countries in the Summit?

Minister Al Faisal (in French): The position of the whole world was welcoming the position we proposed in the plan to solve the Middle East problem. We will not change it. However, I think that the international community changed its mind, not us.

Question: Your Highness, yesterday you met Khaled Mishaal in a significant meeting that observers feel it is a turn to the new Palestinian power. What are the major issues and mechanisms you discussed with Mr. Khaled Mishaal?

Minister Al Faisal: That was not the meeting with Mr. Khaled Mishaal. We examined Summit agenda and particularly the Palestinian position in Summit work. I reiterate again that we are in a meeting that prepares draft Summit resolutions that will only be adopted after adjourning the Summit meetings. There will be more time for clarification in the press conference to be held after the Summit.

Question: Your Highness, Your Excellency, today Premier Olmert spoke about his readiness, if invited by any Arab party or group, to meet, he will respond. What are the position of the Kingdom as Chair of the Arab League, and the position of Arab League, if this claim is true?

Minister Al Faisal: We think that the invitation should be extended to the Palestinian government because it is the one concerned with the ongoing conflict. Consequently, the invitation need not be sent to Arab countries, because it should not receive invitation, rather the Palestinian government should be addressed. There will be no seriousness in the invitations sent by the Israeli government unless it observes that the problem is between it and the Palestinians.

Question: Yesterday, I asked the Secretary General about return of the Saudi, Egyptian, and Syrian axis. The Secretary General told me not to talk about axes. How come and the United States is still dividing Arab countries into moderate states and immoderate states?

Minister Al Faisal: This is to be asked to the United States. We do not divide the Arab world this way. We are “one Arab nation with one immortal message” [laughter].

Question: Your Highness, you said the agenda will be topped with the security and stability of the Arab states. How do you think that this would go on while Iraq is still occupied by foreign troops, Arab which is Beirut initiative is rejected by Israel and USA. How do you think that you are going to go on, are there any mechanism to deal with this situation?

 Minister Al Faisal: Listen to the decisions of the summit conference. I hope they will have answers for these questions.

Question: In his introductory report, the Sudanese Foreign Minister referred to the decision of subpoenaing Sudanese citizens to international court. The Sudanese government thinks it is illegal and against international laws. Will the Arab foreign ministers or the Arab leaders express a refusal of trialing Sudanese citizens before the International Court? Haaretz Israeli newspaper mentioned yesterday that a meeting was held between Ehud Olmert, Israeli Premier, and HRH Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Secretary General of National Security Council. To what extent are these Israeli allegations true?

Minister Al Faisal: Not true. As regards the Sudan, there no doubt that this topic will be at the top of the issues to be discussed in the Arab Summit. I conceal no secret if I say that there will be a special meeting between UN Secretary General and the [Sudanese] President arranged by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. This issued will be deliberated in this meeting and in the summit as well. All Arab countries are keen on the Sudan’s unity and its interests, therefore the issue will be reviewed from this angle.

Question: What about the resolutions issued in Khartoum Summit on support of the African forces in Darfur. So far, nothing happened to this effect.

Secretary General Mousa: The Summit will discuss entire Sudan issues; whether the south issue or Darfur issue. As His Highness said, there is an important meeting that will be held to discuss Darfur issue in particular, chaired by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and attendance of the parties, UN Secretary General, African Union Chairman, and Arab League Secretary General to discuss the issue from all its aspects. As you know these aspects are not only related to the peacekeeping forces; they are also pertaining to the political aspects of settling Darfur issue. As regards, there is a proposal that was drafted, presented and discussed in the tenure of UN Ex-Secretary General Kofi Anan. The proposal divided the issue to 3 phases. Today, we are in phase 2. UN requests moving forward to phase 3. This will be core of the issue. Regarding Arab countries’ contributions to some current state-of-affairs costs, and they were agreed upon in Khartoum Summit, and not put into execution in the required form, the matter should be addressed again in this summit. Phase 3 does not require expenses from Arab countries; it rather requires participation in the force. These situations will be discussed in the meeting. Then outcome of this meeting will reflected in the summit resolution on Darfur.

Question: There is a Saudi paper to protect Arab national security. What are the features of this paper? To H.E. the Secretary General: Under absence of mechanisms and the need to develop LAS Statute, as some observers put it, to activate summit resolutions, how can the Arab League put them to execution so that Riyadh Declaration may not be similar to [documents of] other summits?

Minister Al Faisal: Actually, the paper you mentioned is a paper prepared jointly by the Arab League General Secretariat and the Saudi delegation with the bigger effort on the part of the General Secretariat, if I may say. The effort is based on closing the circle to boost Arab security in all its political, economic cultural and security aspects that has been dormant for long years without revival and implementation. This paper signifies revival of these institutions that are necessary to for balance in the joint Arab policy and because the Arab League is unique among other regional bodies. It is actually a security alliance to protect Arab states as territories and interests. The paper intends to close the ring that was missing in the past. Undoubtedly, reviving it, will have it positive bearing on Arab policy in this respect.

Secretary General Mousa: I would like to add First an information that the council came into being with effect of today in view of completion of its required ratifications. Secondly, This [Arab Peace and] Security Council, in its coordination with UN’s Security Council and African Security and Peace Council, is based on or has bodies related to settling disputes among Arab countries, for following the positions that threaten safety and sovereignty of Arab states, and will liaise between various Arab League bodies. The council will be in permanent meeting when needed because its membership is few and in case of a crisis, they can be called immediately to counter certain hazards. Thirdly, the council can supervise forming an Arab peace keeping force that can move quickly when needed. This means that Arab states devote some of their forces to be ready to resort to. Today we entered a new stage in joint Arab action on the security aspect. On which, there were long discussions on the security topic and many other countries involved such as Egypt and others.

Now, Arab security issue is raised and it is on the table. I thank Saudi Arabia, which proactively requested discussion of this issue in view of the status in the Arab world as you see the situations in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Darfur, Somalia and others. There are also major nuclear problems in the region. We have to be ready security-wise. This preparation, research and resolution to be issued in this summit, Arab Security Council coming into force, start up of its mechanisms and putting them into execution in continuous meetings, including brainstorming sessions, and resorting to Arab and other strategic research institutions are activities to this effect. We are turning a new leaf because hazards are many and we cannot stay as we were receiving ideas from abroad. Ideas should emanate from within, because the threats have reached an extremely grave degree that requires different approach.

Minister Al Faisal: I would like to be excused

Secretary General Mousa: I am gong to resume a little while.

Question: inaudible question in French

Secretary General Mousa: (in French) I cannot say that I am optimistic or pessimistic, but we will continue work and lay down some bases to treat the situation.

Question: You yourself have said that the peace process is dead months ago. How can we re-put forward the peace initiative which is part of a bigger whole logically. Does this mean that there are pressures to revive it?

Secretary General Mousa: When we talked about end of the peace process, in the form it was presented, the reason is lack of activity; there were only closed consecutive circles; waste of time and procrastination, then we said this would not work. We announced the death of the peace process not the Arab initiative. We announced the death of the peace process because it does not deal with the Arab initiative or any other initiative.

Now, US Secretary of State announces that she will activate the American role in the peace process to revive it. We are following this and see what are these measures or this policy that would be adopted. We must give it the necessary time and see whether there is a true progress or not. But the resolution to issued has an important proposal to re-evaluate the situation with the coming few weeks or months, so as not to fall into the same mistake: as long as there is movement, the matter is possible. We give the chance and care for these new efforts, and ready to help them. But we are not ready to reach year-end doing nothing, and all were useless movements. There will be evaluation of the situation, international efforts and any other efforts that give us certain promise. In or about the middle or this year, there will be re-evaluation.

Question: Some news media and a satellite channel suggested that there are deliberations between Arab foreign ministers on the side of the meeting in closed rooms examining possibilities of budging or modifying some Arab positions in the direction of expediting announcement of normalization with Israel as a positive sign to Israel before Israel’s starting or announcing negotiation on the bases of Arab initiative. What’s the truth about it?

Secretary General Mousa: Do you believe me or not? Do I have credibility with you or not? This has not happened, and nobody ever spoke about it. I cannot imagine that one, just one, could speak such talking in this extremely angry Arab political atmosphere on what is happening. Thus I affirm to you that these news are incorrect. You will see the summarized resolution to be issued, and how we talk in it about the initiative, stressing it, its key principles and activating it. We, as I told you a while ago, however, do not ever object to any international efforts, if they are real and targeting concrete objectives. This is our consensus. If there are talks, they are within this scope. We must give these efforts the chance but not for open indefinite time. We erred in this before. There are no efforts without limit and timeframe, otherwise we will fall in the same pit again. We give the chance, and we should give the full chance to peace efforts, particularly American peace efforts. We, nonetheless, have to evaluate the situation within the coming few months to secure Arab interests. Our duty dies not include interests of Israel or any other country’s. Our duty is Arab interest. I think you will be satisfied with the resolutions that will be issued in this regard.

Question: What are the non-political mechanisms available for the Arab Summit that can be adopted? Are there any economic pressures to be exercised, etc.? The other aspect of the question is on economy filed: what are the economic mechanisms to be adopted by the Arab Summit?

Secretary General Mousa: I thank you for raising this question because the summit will devote a great part of its efforts to the economic development situation and to initiatives to develop society such as education initiative. You also know that there is also an initiative on An Arab summit devoted to developmental economic and social issues. This matter is being taken into consideration. What you have said introducing your question is true. Since 1955, there has been no real action to support chanted slogans. We were at a time when slogans are more important then real work. Now, we have set off. Because in 2005 when [Arab] free trade zone came into force, there were great reservations and negative lists. No negative lists are vanishing. The last country which withdrew the negative lists it demanded was Egypt. Consequently, things are going ahead. We believe that in 2007 the intra-commerce may touch 14-15%. Of course, this is still a little. It was 8% 2-3 years ago. There is some steady but slow progress, a promising one. There are, however, significant efforts to achieve liberalization of trade in services. Some not all of the countries will engage in this. The recent meeting was held in Beirut a few weeks ago. Third issue, now we are studying the customs union. There cannot be common market without customs union and free trade zone that precede it. Now we are concluding the free trade zone issue until it stands to its feet. When we reach 40% or 50% of trade exchange, it will be a support to reach a customs union and then a common market. Within the ranges of 2010, 2015 and 2020, these institutions must be established. So, rest assured and thanks again.

Question: What is the role of the Security Council in the peace initiative? Will the initiative be presented in the Security Council to discuss its details?

Secretary General Mousa: We do not regard this as unlikely. On the contrary; this is one of the outlets necessary for activation and official registration of the Arab initiative. The proposal on refugees is negotiation on the basis of UN General Assembly Resolution 194. This is so natural issue. We should reach a solution as a result of such negotiation, this is the stipulation of the initiative. There are other statements on withdrawal, and on Jerusalem. Do not forget that the initiative is comprehensive; not only Palestinian territories, but also Syrian and Lebanese ones. It is important that this initiative be discussed, and to be presented anew to the world in this form if they have forgotten it. This is the initiative. The most important of its contents, is that it defines the Arab position. It is a reference to what our stance would be. The Security is a major and primary outlet that we should resort to in this regard.

Question: Ministerial meetings at the level of information ministers were held. We want to understand and know, what are the rights of the journalists who were thrown in jails, and specifically Guantanamo? Is there a vision to protect journalists and to get them out of these darknesses?

Secretary General Mousa: All of us stand by rights and protection of journalists. We are deeply sorrowed for what happened to many journalists in regions of fighting and war, whether they lost their lives or their positions or sent to prisons. This is a doubtless position on the issue. But saying that we are examining this issue while it is not on this agenda. The matter is as you said in your question. It is the concern and competency of information ministers meetings to tackle the matter and make the required respective recommendations.

Question: Are there non-diplomatic pressures available at hand in the event the Arab peace initiative fails? Is there a prospect of an Arab veto in the face of a US veto? UNESCO admitted Israel’s right to steal Palestinian cultural heritage. What is the position of the Arab League on this?

Secretary General Mousa: We have received today letters from Palestinian organizations and the Aqsa Mosque’s Palestinian Islamic Supervision Council. They expressed strong protest that is notified to Foreign Ministers and will be informed to the Summit. They took exception to position of the UNESCO mission that went to examine excavations issue and that they were not at the required level of credibility and this will be addressed. The letter was read today to Foreign Ministers and the issue will be raised as well. Arab countries and Arab ambassadors in Paris are still insisting on holding a special meeting. There is resistance from many currents. We feel that this obstruction cannot be accepted. We will insist on holding a sitting in UNESCO on the issue, and in UNSC as well because we see bias everywhere. As you said in your question, the day will come that we state our assessment of the situation. If there is progress, we will admit and support it. Alternatively, if there no progress, we will see for ourselves. We will cross these bridges when we reach them.

Question: The economic file is no less important than Arab national security. This question is already raised. Will we witness a session in the Summit devoted to Arab Common Market, or it is enough to join WTO?

Secretary General Mousa: Formation of the Arab Security and Peace Council, exploring the issues of conflict of civilizations and the crisis between the West and Islam, all these matters are raised and it is no longer easy to forget or ignore them because things have reached dangerous security threats. These threats are not only occupation or war or others, they have associated even with identity and the accusations made in this respect.

Question: To what extent are you optimistic of Riyadh Summit with regard to Arab League regaining its vivacity, and effective role in the region? What is the reason for a side sitting for foreign ministers today?

Secretary General Mousa: We hope that this happens God’s willing. That’s what we hope for. As for the second question: We agreed that the closed sitting will be for the delegation heads and two of his/her assistance for wording formulations, and revising resolution drafts, etc.. For your information, this will happen in the summit meeting. There will be an opening session. Then Kings and Heads of State will come to a side auditorium in a sitting for the head and two assistants to discuss serious matters that needs an opinion and another to see what we will come up with away from statements and speeches.

Question: Is there a specific message addressed from this summit to Russia, particularly as it has a representative in the Arab League

Secretary General Mousa: The message is from Russia to the Arab Summit. The Emissary who will come, will address a message from Russia to Arab Summit. The natural message here is that the Arab-Russian relations are one of mutual appreciation. In fact, the Russian role on the international arena can be trusted largely, talk to it and benefit from several elements of the Russian position. I feel the Arab-Russian relations are increasing in significance. It is necessary to have cooperation with Russia at the same level of cooperation with Europe and USA.

Question: Last August, the Kingdom declared its intention to forward comprehensive studies to reform Arab status. Are they going to be submitted in the Summit?

Secretary General Mousa: There was the security issue and we talked about it and worked on it and reviewed it throughout the last two months. There were visits and sittings with experts and others. Now we are talking about content and essence of the resolution that will be issued on Arab security issue. You will see it in this session. It is worded well and I believe it can be implemented quickly.

Question: Did your host Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal let you know contents of the paper of US questions presented by Madam Secretary of State Rice to foreign ministers of four Arab states and four Arab heads of intelligence agencies in Aswan based on which an initiative will be announced this evening, or Arab league is in the dark about what was happening in Aswan?

Secretary General Mousa: First, Prince Saud notified me by phone from Aswan about the developments that took place there. In a long session, he talked about all the details of the events there. Then, in the evening, Foreign Minister of Jordan gave me a detailed account of the situation. And then Foreign Minister of Egypt informed me of the developments. All these happened yesterday. We are aware of what happened there. As for intelligence agencies meetings, I have not been informed of because even foreign ministers have not been notified thereof.

Question: Is it agreed to hold Arab economic summit?

Secretary General Mousa: I have said this before. There is a proposal to hold a separate developmental economic and social summit. The proposal was submitted by Egypt and Kuwait.

Question: What can this summit embody as an Arab role to serve Iraq and Arab interests?

Secretary General Mousa: Solution of Iraq’s issue will not be with only a security approach. There is must be a political action, as the problem is political in the first place. All that we see are repercussions of this problem. This political problem is caused by wrong policies on purpose, or due to negligence or ignorance. We are handling this issue now based on the necessity of political approach, and dealing with the major disorder that took place i.e. division of Iraqi people and clashes between its groups. This is the disorder. Issue of foreign presence is resolved today or after a year. The difference and disturbance is the issue of national division between Iraqi people groups. We are dealing with it.

Question: In LAS Ministerial Council, Session 127, you stressed that LAS offered legitimacy to the Iraqi government. Severe criticism was directed to you by some elements in the Iraqi House of Representatives. What is your response to this? During the Session 127, there was a visit by UN Envoy for Refugees. What will this summit do for the Iraqi refugees?

Secretary General Mousa: When I invited the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to attend the LAS Foreign Ministers 127th Session, it was to address this issue in particular. He talked to us about the real situation, not the reports told, and how to handle the situation if we manage to cooperate somehow in this concern. A meeting will be held in Geneva mid April for this particular issue. The meeting will be attended by several Arab states and other under UNHCR. It is an important meeting on the issue of refugees. As you see we are pursuing the matter. Bur not everything is to be on the Summit agenda. The Ministerial Council takes some assignments and tries follow them. Here, we are also discussing other issues related to refugees, facilities, protection and such matters. As for the interposition in the Ministerial Meeting, it is not a condition that everybody agrees to it. But this is the position of Arab consensus. My statement is based on clear references i.e. resolutions of Arab Summit and LAS councils. This situation will prevail.

Question: We want a frank statement from you on the position of Iran in this summit. Is there actual resolve to take a position from the Iranian question and Iranian-western relations?

Secretary General Mousa: A position as you talked is not correct. This position cannot be adopted. I say it again, Iran is part from the Middle East. It is not a foe. It is a brotherly country. There are differences that should be handled through dialogue. We cannot support a war or military operation or isolation operation. There is no need for this and it will lead no where, So rest assured.

Source: Wikileaks