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Last Updated: Monday, 3 March, 2003, 16:49 GMT
Arab press hail 'unity' on Iraq
Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League
Arab League chief takes a break after the summit
Most Arabic press hail the outcome of Saturday's Arab League summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. In the final communique, the summit rejected war on Iraq and promoted a peaceful solution to the current crisis.

"The Arab League stands firmly behind peace," says the Qatari daily Gulf Times.

The paper hails the summit but points out that it "was not without drama" - a reference to a proposal by the UAE for Saddam Hussein to step down and a public spat between the Libyan and Saudi leaders.

"Despite these disagreements", the paper says, "the Arab world is united in its belief that there is no justification for bringing the horrors of yet another war to this region."

The paper believes the Iraqi authorities' behaviour "imperils the Iraqi government and it also imperils the stability of the region and the Arab cause as a whole", concludes Gulf Times.

'A star and a hero'

The London-based Al-Arab al-Alamiyah also describes the summit as successful.

It says the Arab leaders "have all risen to their responsibility without indulging in accusations".
The summit exposed differences and a failure to have a single vision on how to handle any forthcoming war
Gulf News - UAE

It calls the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad "a star and a hero" for his criticism of the US policy in the region.

The London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi agrees.

"What the US wanted," the paper claims, "was for the Arab summit to give a legitimate cover for the occupation of Iraq and imposing a Jewish state as the policeman of the region."

The UAE daily The Gulf Today says that the summit achieved its objective: rejecting war against Iraq aimed at "regime change in Baghdad".

"Never before has the Arab world faced such a danger", the paper says, adding that a US-led war against Iraq is not going to be "a conflict in a contained situation".

"It is the first step in a grand American design that aims at reshaping the political map of the Middle East", the paper maintains.

The paper believes that the war is also aimed at "propelling Israel as the dominating power" in the region.

The Egyptian daily Al-Akhbar criticises the US for making a distinction between "what Iraq is being accused of doing and the atrocities and gruesome crimes Israel commits" against Palestinian people.

The paper, however, points out that Iraq's "unjustified mistake was behind the US presence in the Arab lands".

Elsewhere, the paper says that while "the summit may not have defeated the odds of war, it enhanced the chances of reaching a peaceful solution."

"The ball is still in the Arab court," it concludes.

'Siding with the devil'

The UAE daily Gulf News says "the Arab summit did not display the Arab world's unity on the question of any military action against Iraq".

It believes that the summit "exposed differences and a failure to have a single vision on how to handle any forthcoming war".
His [UAE President's] goal is to plant a time bomb in the Arab summit to detonate and divide Arab ranks
Babil -Iraq

It hails the UAE president's call on Saddam Hussein to step down.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, it says, "is the first Arab leader to make such a call", which is "consistent with his steady search for a peaceful solution".

"He is wisely seeking an alternative way through which regime change can happen", the paper concludes.

"The agent and the agent by proxy", reads the headline of the Iraqi daily Babil, which is run by the Iraqi leader's son Uday.

The paper says those who proposed such idea "have chosen to side with the devil".

"He has an American tongue," the daily says, adding that the UAE leader "utters what the Americans and the enemies of the region want him to say".

"His goal is to plant a time bomb in the Arab summit to detonate and divide Arab ranks," charges Babil.

Slanging match

The London-based Al-Hayat defends Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz's outburst after being criticised by Libya's Colonel Gaddafi for allowing US military presence on Saudi soil.

The paper says the observers of the Saudi position "ought to make allowances for his outburst".

"The Gulf war was imposed on Riyadh," the paper says, "which found itself facing a historical responsibility of rescuing Kuwait following Arab division."

"Undoubtedly the image of Saudi Arabia in Arab media lacks objectivity and impartiality," the paper thinks, "because some revolutionary Arab regimes still think any attack on the Iraqi regime is a direct attack on them."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Arab summit in quotes
02 Mar 03  |  Middle East
Public spat mars Arab summit
01 Mar 03  |  Middle East
Exile proposed for Saddam
01 Mar 03  |  Middle East

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