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Monday, 23 September, 2002, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Arab states urge support for Arafat
Recent summit of the Arab League
The Arab League includes Palestine as a member

An emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo has ended with a call to the international community to pressure Israel to lift the siege on the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

The Palestinian delegate had asked the meeting to forge a united Arab position to be presented to the UN Security Council later on Monday.


This [US] reluctance [to criticise Israel] is souring relations with Arab allies and contributing to the sharp rise of anti-American sentiment across the region

The Arab League said that Israel's siege of Yasser Arafat was aimed at smashing the Palestinian Authority and putting an end to the peace process.

In a statement issued after the meeting in Cairo, Arab League States called on the international community to intervene immediately to end the Israeli siege of the Palestinian leader.

They also said the UN had the responsibility to provide international protection for the Palestinian people.

Anti-American feeling

The Arab League statement reserved its most bitter words for the United States.

Yasser Arafat
Arafat is again under Israeli siege
It said the US bore full responsibility for Israel's action because of what it called America's constant support for Israel's savage aggression.

The statement also recalled America's opposition to attempts at the Security Council to get a resolution authorising international protection for the Palestinians.

The US, the statement said, could no longer be considered an honest broker in the peace process.

But for all the furious words, the Arabs know that only US intervention could help Mr Arafat.

Egypt has already called on Washington to step in.

But these days America shows little inclination to restrain Israel, which it considers to be fighting its own war against terrorism.

This reluctance is souring relations with Arab allies and contributing to the sharp rise of anti-American sentiment across the region.


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23 Sep 02 | Middle East
21 Sep 01 | Country profiles
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