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Last Updated: Monday, 29 March, 2004, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Press dismay at cancelled summit

The cancellation by Tunisia of an Arab summit set for Monday provokes sharp reaction in the Arabic press.

There is talk of disappointment, failure and shame, as well as a sense that this comes at a time when Arabs most need unity.

In Tunisia itself, one paper cites the need for unity as the justification for calling the meeting off.

Just when the Arab world needed all its cohesion and all its strength, it became necessary - indeed legitimate - to avoid the risk of failure. Tunisia had to accept regretfully the postponement of the Arab Summit... a summit in whose success Tunisia had invested every effort - material and human.

La Presse - Tunisia

Shame on the Arab decision makers for postponing their meeting because of the difference in opinion. They have shamed themselves by showing backwardness in terms of civilization.

Al-Bayan - UAE

What we feared has happened, that is, 'agreement by Arabs to disagree'. The consequences of this painful and ruthless result was a blow to the feelings of Arabs, who were angered that their hopes in the aborted summit evaporated and vanished.

Tishrin - Syria

Sudden postponement of the Tunisia summit - official confusion and public wrath [Headline]

Al-Quds Al-Arabi - London

What happened in Tunisia revealed the ferocity of the aggressive campaign against Muslims and Arabs.

Al-Jumhuriyah - Egypt

The truth is that the sudden postponement of the Arab summit has come at a time when Arab nations are facing a deadly crisis in the form of increasing Israeli terrorism, to the extent of criminally assassinating Sheikh Yassin, and when a great Arab nation, Iraq, is being surrendered to the occupation... Israeli joy at the postponement has hit Arab streets with great frustration, because Israel has seen it as a positive development.

Al-Ahram - Egypt

The calling off of the Tunisia summit in such a horrible and shocking way, on the pretext that there were differences and division among Arabs, clearly shows the trap that Washington and Tel Aviv have laid for these nations... What is urgently needed at the moment is to fix a new and closer date for the summit which will bring about success and eliminate failures.

Al-Dustur Jordan

Clearly the image of the Arab world will suffer more if the Arabs fail to arrange meetings to discuss their strategies in tackling the threats facing their existence.

Al-Jazeera - Saudi

No doubt, Arab concern will be greater after the postponement of the Tunisia summit. They will make more serious efforts to stop the situation from getting worse.

Ukaz - Saudi

The Arab world is in shock after the Arab summit's postponement. Expectations are that it will be held in Cairo... Many Arab leaders welcomed Egypt's proposal to hold a summit in Cairo.

Al-Ayyam - Palestinian

The outstanding failure of the Arab foreign ministers and the Arab League, when they announced the Arab summit's postponement at a time when the Arabs are in the greatest need of unity, shows again the Arab regimes' current sterility... This failure is a victory for US policy.

Al-Quds - Palestinian

Our condolences to the Arabs for the failure and disappointment... Oh, shame to the Arab leaders and masters... But the good and the legends of the past will return one day.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah - Palestinian

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.

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