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Arab Summit Collapse - No to democracy and reform for now?

04/01/2004

The collapse of the Arab League summit that was to have been held in Tunisia this week, is not a good omen for proponents of reform and democracy in the Middle East. According to the Tunisian Foreign Ministry, the summit collapsed "particularly over the issues of modernization and reform ... to reactivate Arab institutions.''


More specifically, the New York Times quotes an unnamed diplomat as saying "The Syrians acted as if
they want to turn the tables on the whole summit.'' The Times also quoted Arab diplomats as saying
that Syria sought to block proposals for political reform and for endorsing Libya's move to abandon
its weapons of mass destruction programs. Syria also wanted to block a summit declaration advancing
the 2002 Saudi peace initiative initiative, according to these sources quoted in the Times. Saudi
Crown Prince Abdulla had already developed a severe case of diplomatic flu and announced with regret
that he would not be attending the conference.

Egypt, and the Palestinians had been very anxious for the summit to convene. President Mubarak of Egypt wanted the summit to approve a resolution that would initiate an "all-Arab" reform initiative that would compete with the American Greater Middle East initiative, and would most likely be empty of content. The Palestinians wanted a strong resolution about the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, head of the Hamas terrorist group.

Subsequently, Egypt has offered to host the summit, and Egyptian President Mubarak has met other Arab leaders in Sharm al-Sheikh in order to try to prepare an agenda for the summit, but he returned to Cairo on Thursday unexpectedly, before meeting with Syrian and Sudanese leaders.

The collapse of the summit seems to indicate that Arab leaders cannot even agree on a watered-down reform and democracy plan to compete with the American plan, or perhaps they cannot agree regarding a new peace initiative.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000237.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 07:27 AM CST [Link]

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Replies: 3 comments

English only please. Can you email me a link to the US GREATER MIDDLE EAST INITIATIVE? and the 2002 ARAB PEACE INITIATIVE? I cannot find the complete text of these documents. Thank you for your time. Sincerely - a US concerned citizen.

Posted by Hypatia Popol @ 04/02/2004 12:36 AM CST

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

English only please. Can you email me a link to the US GREATER MIDDLE EAST INITIATIVE? and the 2002 ARAB PEACE INITIATIVE? I cannot find the complete text of these documents. Thank you for your time. Sincerely - a US concerned citizen.

Posted by robert maddin @ 04/10/2004 04:53 PM CST

The US Greater Middle East initiative is not published yet. It is to be unveiled in June, but there was some preliminary information about it which panicked Mubarak and the Saudis.
The Arab peace plan adopted at the Beirut Arab League Summit is
here .
At http://www.mideastweb.org/history.htm you will find text of most such documents.
A.I.

Posted by Moderator @ 04/15/2004 08:10 PM CST


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