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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March, 2005, 13:26 GMT
Mid-East press decries Algiers summit

As Arab leaders meet in Algiers for an Arab League summit, most newspapers in the Middle East see little to celebrate.

They see the Arab world burdened by internal problems and squeezed by external forces, with little chance for manoeuvre. One Iraqi paper calls for the Arab League to be consigned to history, while another describes it as moribund.

The 17th Arab summit gets under way today in Algiers amid dramatic events in the region, including attacks and attempts by external forces to drown the region in bloodshed, chaos and instability so as to impose their hegemony.

Syria's al-Thawrah

The Arab summit faces enormous challenges in repairing the Arab wall, which bears numerous cracks from Palestine, Iraq, Darfur and last, but not least, Syria and Lebanon.

Egypt's al-Jumhuriyah

Every year, a new issue forces itself on whoever happens to be leading the Arabs so that the main cause is being overlooked, including Jerusalem and the plight of the refugees. The Algerian state has spent billions of dinars on this summit. Before that, other Arab capitals spent billions. Had such monies been spent on boosting the Intifadah, they would have made a much greater impact on the progress of Arabs' main cause.

Algeria's al-Fadjr

Summit of the cripples in Algiers - The only initiative which the USA expects from Arabs and their summit is that they discard their remaining honour and dignity, before getting on the plane to Tel Aviv and offering a total and unconditional normalization of ties [with Israel].

London based al-Quds al-Arabi

The solution is for the Arab League to be dissolved and replaced by a small committee of wise Arab elders whose job should be to set up a new mechanism for a new form of collective Arab effort with a view to establishing ties based on mutual interest at grass-root levels under the banner of honesty, transparency and candour. For we have had enough of insincere courtesies and bogus ventures.

Iraq's al-Sharq al-Awsat

We are in dire need for the Arab leaders to face the problems with sincerity and put aside their differences for the sake of the general interests of the Arabs, no matter what the extent of external pressures.

Egypt's al-Ahram

We urge our brothers the Arab leaders to set up a united Arab strategy based on national principles in order for the Palestinians to gain the right of self-determination and set up their independent state with Jerusalem as capital... and for Syria and Lebanon to liberate the occupied Golan and Shab'a Farms. We also urge them to address the international community so that it can exert pressure on Israel to release all Palestinian and Arab prisoners in Israeli prisons.

Lebanon's al-Anwar

The Arab summit in Algeria is being held at a difficult time with huge challenges facing the Arab nation both from within and externally. Arab leaders... who have so far failed to protect their peoples... must assume responsibility and stand up for their peoples' expectations because the sterility and shying away from them can no longer continue.

Palestinian al-Quds

It is Algeria's bad luck that it is hosting the current Arab summit during a very bad period. Lebanon is going through internal struggle, Iraq is living through bloody days under the occupation and Palestine is exposed to continued Israel aggression. It is Algeria's bad luck that Arab solidarity is something of the past and that the Arab League is on its death bed.

Palestinian al-Ayyam

It must be hoped that Arab states and leaders will discern the diplomatic benefits that could flow from establishing relations with Israel, and that these states, along with Jordan and Egypt, will lead the region into a new era.

Israel's Ha'aretz

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

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