2004 News Story

Arab foreign ministers issue communiqué, covering reform, Iraq, and mideast

The foreign ministers of the League of Arab States issued a communiqué yesterday at the end of their 121st regular session, confirming their agreement to submit to the Arab Summit scheduled for later this month in Tunis, proposals on democratic reforms in the Arab world. Draft resolutions proposed by Egypt and Jordan will be presented to the Summit, stressing the desire of Arab countries for such reform by expanding the base of public participation and freedom of expression, with the participation and efforts of enlightened popular organizations, and the cooperation of other friendly countries who are willing to interact on a basis of equality without imposing their own models.

On Iraq, the communiqué condemned the recent terrorist bombings, welcomed the ratification of the transitional state administration law, and called on Arab countries to extend assistance to Iraq and to confront attempts to spread ethnic sedition, affirming the unity of Iraq and its people, as well as respect for its sovereignty and independence and non-interference in its internal affairs.
The communiqué condemned the human rights violations that took place during the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and the suppression of truth concerning Kuwaitis taken prisoner or missing in action; and urged that members of the deposed Iraqi regime be brought to trial before Iraqi courts for crimes against humanity.
The communiqué also emphasized the need to resolve the Palestinian issue and end Israeli occupation, in accordance with the Arab peace initiative that was endorsed at the 2002 Arab Summit in Beirut; and called on the international community to implement UN Security Council resolutions regarding the Syrian and Lebanese as well as the Palestinian peace tracks, voicing support for Syria's right to the Golan heights and denouncing Israel’s aggression against Syrian territories last October. The ministers urged the United States to activate the ‘Roadmap’, warning of the grave consequences of Israel continuing construction of the wall of segregation aimed at aborting a peaceful solution of the Palestinian issue; stressed that Al-Quds [East Jerusalem] was part of the Arab territories occupied in 1967; endorsed the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland; and affirmed commitment to financial support for the Palestinian Authority of U.S. $ 55 million per month.
Turning to other issues, the communiqué expressed full support for the sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates over the three islands occupied by Iran; solidarity with the Sudan in its efforts to maintain its territorial integrity, establish peace, and realize national conciliation; and endorsement of Somalia's territorial unity and sovereignty, affirming commitment to UN Security Council resolutions banning export of arms to that country. The ministers also discussed Israel’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms, and stressed the importance of Arab participation in meetings of signatory states of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty scheduled for New York next April.