1996 Public Statement

Arab leaders issue communiqué after Arab Summit in Cairo
The final communiqué issued by the Arab leaders at the end of the two-day Summit held in Cairo on June 21 to 23, 1996 is as follows.

In response to the invitation by President Hosni Mubarak of the Arab Republic of Egypt, their majesties, highnesses and excellencies the kings, presidents, and emirs of Arab states held a summit conference in Cairo on June 21 to 23, 1996. Expressing appreciation of the inaugural speech delivered by President Mubarak as chairman of the conference, the Arab leaders decided to consider this speech an official document of the summit. In response to the hope and aspirations of the Arab world, in the belief of the single destiny of Arab states, in line with fraternal Arab ties, and in light of the current critical phase in the Middle East peace process, the Arab leaders met to study the situation emerging in the region, to activate joint Arab work, to intensify Arab consultation, coordination, and cooperation, and to boost the effectiveness of closing Arab ranks and building Arab solidarity as a means towards realization of the principles and goals of united Arab operations, the utilization of the Arab world's potentialities to protect its interests and restore its rights and bolster efforts aiming at achieving a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

  1. Out of their national responsibility, and since the Palestinian issue is the essence of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Arab leaders affirm that the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East requires that Israel withdraw fully from all occupied Arab lands including Arab Jerusalem, and that the Palestinian people be allowed to practice their rights of self-determination and to establish an independent state with Arab Jerusalem as its capital.
  2. The Arab leaders also call for full Israeli withdrawal from the Syrian Golan Heights to the June 4, 1967 lines, and unconditional Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon to internationally-recognized borders in line with UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338, and 425, and the land-for-peace principle. On this basis, the Arab leaders call for resumption of negotiations on all tracks.
  3. The commitment of the Arab countries to resuming the peace process in order to realize a just and comprehensive peace is a strategic goal that can be achieved within international legitimacy and requires a reciprocal serious commitment by Israel, the return of occupied territories, and a guarantee of parallel and equal security for all countries in the region, in line with the principles agreed upon at the Madrid Conference, notably the land-for-peace principle.
  4. The communiqué states that the Arabs would have to react in kind if Israel did not follow through on the land-for-peace principle agreed to by both sides as the basis for negotiations begun five years ago in Spain, and that if the Israeli government withdrew from past agreements or delayed implementation of them, this would lead to a relapse of the process with all the dangers of taking the region back to the whirlpool of tension, a situation that would be the sole responsibility of the Israeli government.
  5. The Arab leaders confirm their commitment to the resolutions of international legitimacy which make it imperative not to recognize or accept any position based on Israeli settlement activities on occupied Arab lands, because such illegal positions would neither grant a right nor create a commitment. The Arab leaders consider the building of settlements and populating them with Jewish settlers a violation of the Geneva conventions and the Madrid framework, and an obstacle hindering the peace process, and therefore demand a halt to all Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and the Palestinian territories, especially Jerusalem, and the removal of all such settlements. They affirm their rejection of an alteration of the demographic features and legal position of Arab Jerusalem, and emphasize that realization of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East can only be attained by resolving the issue of Jerusalem and the problem of the Palestinian refugees on the basis of their right to return, of international legitimacy, and the relevant UN resolutions.
  6. In view of this, and to achieve the success of the peace process on the Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian tracks, the Arab leaders call on the two sponsors of the peace process, together with the European Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, other concerned states, the United Nations, and all international organizations to guarantee that Israel will not violate the bases of the peace process or negate its pledges concerning the interim state or the issues to be discussed at the final phase of negotiations. Stressing that the Palestinian question is the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, they pledge the necessary political and economic support for the Palestinian people and their national authority, and reiterate the necessity for ending the Israeli siege of the Palestinian people.
  7. The Arab leaders confirm their support for Lebanon, which faces continued Israeli attacks on its territories, people and sovereignty, calling on the international community to guarantee an immediate and unconditional halt to these hostilities and an end to the occupation as well as making Israel responsible for compensating Lebanon for all the damage it has caused.
  8. The Arab leaders call on Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and to open its nuclear facilities to international inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, reiterating their call to free all countries in the region, including Israel, from weapons of mass destruction, foremost among them nuclear weapons, and affirming their determination to prevent an arms race that would add to the tension and waste their resources and energies. They also affirm that achieving a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East is the real guarantee of security for all countries in the region.
  9. In line with their belief in the importance of bolstering Arab comprehensive national security in face of challenges to the sovereignty and unity of Arab countries and their natural resources, and the close connection between Arab national security in its comprehensive concept and the national security of each individual Arab state, the Arab leaders emphasize their intention to build up Arab solidarity as the right way of realizing the goals of joint Arab work based on respect for the essential pillars of the Arab world, foremost among which are the commitment to principles of respecting the sovereignty, independence, and regional security of each country, non-interference in other countries' internal affairs, and resolving bilateral disputes between Arab states by peaceful means, in line with the principles of international law, the charters of the Arab League and of the United Nations, and the agreements concluded within their context.
  10. In connection with joint Arab interests, and in view of international economic developments which make it imperative to form larger alliances, the Arab leaders affirm that the ability of the Arab states to enhance their role and boost their contributions on the international arena require realization of Arab development and consolidation of the role of joint Arab economic action and the implementation of their decisions. The Arab leaders have therefore directed the Arab League Economic and Social Council to draw up and execute comprehensive economic and social plans that would enable the Arab world to realize its higher economic goals and deal on equal terms with other partners in the current international economic system. They confirm their concern to consolidate the role of the League of Arab States, and their intention to enhance its role and remain committed to its charter and resolutions. They also confirm their commitment to the financial requirements of the Arab League.
  11. The Arab leaders express solidarity with the State of Bahrain and full support for the measures taken by the Gulf state to bolster its security and stability, denouncing attempts to interfere in Bahrain's internal affairs and stressing their support for Bahrain against any threats regardless of who poses them. They further urge Iran to prevent sabotage aimed at Bahrain, in the interest of the security and stability of the region.
  12. The Arab leaders confirm the sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates over the Islands of Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Moussa, and their support for all peaceful measures taken by the UAE to restore this sovereignty, and urge Iran to end its occupation of these three islands and put an end to the de-facto policies by following peaceful means to end the dispute in line with international law, including acceptance of referral of the issue to the International Court of Justice. The Arab leaders assigned the Secretary-General of the Arab League to follow up on this issue and submit a report at the next Arab Summit.
  13. The Arab leaders, expressing concern about the military cooperation agreement signed between Turkey and Israel, call on Turkey to reconsider this agreement in order to prevent any negative bearing on the security of the Arab states.
  14. The Arab leaders state that Iraq cannot resume its position in the Arab ranks until it halts all aggression against its neighbors, holding the Iraqi regime solely responsible for the suffering of the Iraqi people under the UN sanctions, but opposing any action that would partition the nation. The Arab leaders call on the Iraqi government to refrain from hostile policies which provoke neighboring Arab states, and to implement all relevant security Council resolutions, notably the release of all Kuwaiti and other detainees, and acceptance of a compensation mechanism as the right way of lifting the sanctions and providing suitable conditions for Iraq's return to the Arab ranks. They also welcome the recent agreement between Iraq and the United Nations to carry out Resolution 986 as a positive step towards alleviating the suffering of the Iraqi people.
  15. The Arab leaders welcome the signing of a declaration of principles between Yemen and Eritrea to refer their dispute to international arbitration and to resume their peaceful ties in view of their neighborly relations and mutual interests, stating that this would have a positive effect on the stability of international navigation interests in the Red Sea.
  16. The Arab leaders, voicing deep concern for the human and financial damages inflicted upon Libya as a result of UN Security Council Resolutions 748 and 883, point to the UN's failure to respond to efforts exerted by Libya, the Arab League, the Organization of African Unity, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and others in this connection, and support an Arab League proposal to have the two Libyan suspects in the 1988 bombing of a PanArn jet tried in the World Court by Scottish judges under Scottish law, and urge a positive position in this regard to end the unjustified suffering of the Libyan people, calling for lifting the sanctions against Libya. Failure to do this could prompt Arab countries to consider ways to spare the Libyan people more damage.
  17. The Arab leaders voice concern over the continued deterioration in the situation in Somalia, and call on the leaders of the Somali factions to shoulder their responsibility to realize national reconciliation, discard their differences and form a national authority representing the Somali people.
  18. While denouncing attempts to label legitimate national resistance as terrorism, the Arab leaders condemn all forms of terrorism and sabotage launched in certain countries including some Arab states, and voice their support for the efforts and measures aimed at holding an international conference to deal with the various aspects of the international phenomenon of terrorism while asserting commitment to the firm right of resisting occupation and aggression.
  19. The Arab leaders extend condolences to the Yemeni people who have suffered from recent floods and confirm their support to the Yemeni Republic, calling on relevant international organizations to extend all forms of assistance and support to Yemen.


At the end of the conference, the Arab leaders agreed to have President Mubarak, in his capacity as chairman of the current summit, make necessary contacts and consultations with the Arab leaders and Secretary-General of the Arab League to follow up the issue of convening the next summit. They also assigned the Arab foreign ministers to meet to review developments in the peace process prior to the Arab League's meeting in September. Finally, the Arab leaders thanked President Mubarak and the Egyptian people for the hospitality extended to them and praised the organization of the conference.