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Monday, 11 March, 2002, 15:29 GMT
Gulf states back Saudi peace plan
GCC ministers meet in Riyadh
The Saudi plan was backed by all six states
Six Gulf Arab states have hailed the peace plan for the Middle East put forward by Saudi Arabia and urged Arab leaders to adopt it.

Foreign ministers of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) said in a statement that they backed peaceful "coexistence" with Israel.

Gulf Co-operation Council here
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

Under the plan, Arab states would normalise relations with Israel in return for a withdrawal of Israeli troops from Arab territory occupied in the 1967 war.

The peace plan would "enable Arab states and Israel to coexist and ensure a secure future, prosperity and stability for future generations", the statement said.

The ministers, who were meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh, said they would promote the initiative within the international community.

In particular, they will ask for it to be adopted at an Arab League summit to be held in Beirut later in March.

The BBC's Heba Saleh reports from Cairo that the proposal mooted by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah has yet to be published.

There are also now suggestions that the offer to Israel has been watered down to full peace with the Arabs rather than normal relations.

The implication, our correspondent says, is that while there would be diplomatic relations, contact between people could be restricted.

Crown Prince Abdullah is expected to spell out the initiative more clearly at the summit in Beirut.

See also:

14 Jan 02 | Media reports
Arab League summit venue row
23 Sep 01 | Middle East
Gulf states back US
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