2001 News Story

Arab foreign ministers meet in Cairo

Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal today reported that the agenda of the Arab Summit scheduled for Amman later this month was finalized in Cairo at the 115th session of the council of Arab foreign ministers, and confirmed that the major concerns will be the Palestinian issue and the Iraqi situation.

An official statement issued at the end of the session confirmed support of the decision of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, to declare the establishment of the State of Palestine this year. In order to achieve this, it stated, all the necessary steps, measures and international contacts should be carried out. It called on Arab, Islamic and other friendly countries to recognize the Palestinian State as soon as it is declared.
The statement went on to urge the new U.S. administration to put the Middle East Peace Process among its priorities, taking into consideration the outcome of the Madrid conference, the principle of land for peace, and adherence to the United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. It also called on the Russian Federation and the European Union to take an active role in overcoming obstacles impeding the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.
The Arab foreign ministers demanded that the UN Security Council provide international protection to the Palestinian people, and form a special committee to study the destructive effects of the depleted uranium being used by the Israeli forces. On the issue of occupied Al-Quds [Jerusalem], they stressed Palestinian sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem and its importance as capital of the independent State of Palestine, attesting to the city's Arab characteristics, antiquities, and holy sites. The statement reaffirmed the Arab stance on the illegitimacy of attempts to move the U.S. Embassy to Al-Quds [Jerusalem], and recalled the resolution of the 1980 Amman Arab Summit concerning severing relations with countries that move their embassies to Jerusalem or that recognize it as Israel's capital. It emphasized the need to take measures to ensure activation of the Al-Aqsa Fund in financing projects for maintaining the Arab and Islamic identity of occupied Jerusalem.
The council called on the co-sponsors of the peace process and the international community to shoulder their responsibility and force Israel to implement the UN resolutions that call for its full withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, and urged support for Syria in its inalienable stance for the achievements of a just and comprehensive peace in the region. The statement strongly condemned the continuing Israeli occupation of posts along the Lebanese border and resolved to extend urgent assistance of U.S. $50 million for removal of mines planted by occupying Israeli forces.
The statement reaffirmed full support for the United Arab Emirates in its sovereignty over the three islands (Greater and Lesser Tunb and Abu Mousa), denounced their continuing occupation by Iran, and regretted Iran's refusal to deal with the tripartite committee formed by the Gulf Cooperation Council to deal with the matter. The statement also called on the UN Security Council to lift immediately its sanctions against Sudan and Libya.
In a statement to the CNN network yesterday, Prince Saud Al-Faisal said the Kingdom unhesitatingly supports any way of making more effective the assistance being extended to the Palestinian people, adding that the best way to realize this is through the League of Arab States and noting that the matter will be discussed at the meeting of Arab finance ministers scheduled to be held in Amman on March 23, prior to the Summit. Saudi Arabia, he said, has donated U.S. $30 million so far within the framework of the aid program agreed on at the Extraordinary Arab Summit conference held recently in Cairo.