The foreign ministers of the League of Arab States yesterday concluded their consultative meeting at the League's headquarters in Cairo. Prior to the meeting, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, who led the Saudi delegation, stated the Kingdom's position on the Iraqi crisis by saying: "If the Iraqi delegation is willing to offer a chance of tackling the matter, all Arab countries would seek ways to eliminate the sufferings of the Iraqi people." He went on to say that he hoped that logic and reason would prevail at the meeting.
At the end of their deliberations the Arab foreign ministers issued a communiqué, which included the following statements.
The Arab foreign ministers expressed their deep concern and discomfort at the resort to the military option against Iraq, and at its consequences, which have left innocent victims among the Iraqi people; they advocated diplomatic solutions in implementing all UN resolutions. They also called upon the UN Security Council to restore confidence between the United Nations and the Government of Iraq to ensure credibility for implementing UN resolutions objectively and properly. The ministers voiced full solidarity with the brotherly people of Iraq in their suffering as a result of the sanctions and stressed the need for international cooperation to lift these sanctions as soon as possible.
In accordance with the resolutions of the June 1996 Arab Summit in Cairo, which requested the Iraqi government not to follow any provocative policies toward its neighbors, the ministers totally rejected the provocative stances that have recently emanated from Iraqi officials, in contradiction not only with these resolutions but with all Arab and international charters as well as the principles of good neighborliness. They therefore urged the Iraqi government to immediately desist from such provocations.
The communiqué asked the Iraqi government to take the necessary steps to prove its peaceful intentions toward Kuwait and its neighbors by deeds and words, and to admit that its occupation of Kuwait was wrong, being in violation of the Charter of the League of Arab States and bilateral defense agreements. This is absolutely the first necessary step in order to reach true Arab solidarity to protect the interests of the Arab world.
The foreign ministers decided on the following:
1.That all Arab governments should exert the necessary efforts within the UN and particularly the Security Council, to effect the lifting of the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq, in accordance with a certain program coinciding with an overall review and taking into consideration the international obligations that are stated in the resolutions and the mechanisms to be agreed upon in the next stage.
2.That a follow-up committee be set up, comprised of Syria, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco, and including the Arab state that is currently a member of the Security Council, and the Secretary-General.
3.That the Arab world stresses its stance against any violation of the sovereignty of Iraq over its land and its national unity, and against interference in its local affairs; and that the international community be asked to respect this.
4.That Iraq is requested to respond to and cooperate with Article 30 of UN resolution 687 calling for cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Reviewing the case of Iraq, the foreign ministers stressed that double standards should not be applied, especially in matters pertaining to Israel, which is still occupying Arab lands and refusing to implement its obligations. They also stressed the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East, including the Israeli nuclear program; this is a necessary step for security in the region.
The ministers reviewed what is being faced by the Libyan and the Sudanese people, and expressed rejection of the policy of sanctions imposed on these two countries, urging that these sanctions be lifted.