The two-day conference, which started on Monday in the capital, was supported by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and was attended by his representative. Ministers, advocates, and lawyers attended from most Arab countries.

Delegates made hard-hitting calls for the US to pull out of Iraq and release its political prisoners there, and spoke out against the Syria Accountability Act.

The representative of the Syrian president stated that a dangerous plan was being prepared for the region.

"They have given many different excuses for interference in our region, saying they want to redraw the map of the region, that the region needs democracy, claims that the region lacks basic human rights and, as a result, they have come out with the grand Middle East plan. All of which targets our very being and entity."

He implored Arab lawmakers to play their role in defending the "nation against foreign aggression".

Arab integrity threatened

Shabib al-Maliki, the secretary-general of the UAJ and Iraqi minister of justice until 1997, stressed that backing Syria is necessary to confront the attempts of foreign powers to get involved in Arab issues.

"The Arab jurists are fully aware of their vital role in confronting Zionist plans to control the Arab homeland," he said.

"I announce our condemnation of the
so-called Syria Accountability Act, and to proclaim our backing of the stance taken by Arab Syria"

Shabib al-Maliki,
UAJ secretary-general

"I seize the opportunity of holding this meeting to announce our condemnation of the so-called Syria Accountability Act, and to proclaim our backing of the stance taken by Arab Syria."

Al-Maliki also condemned Israel's "apartheid wall" and accused Israel of building it to deliberately displace hundreds of thousands of Palestinian citizens.

"Israel continues to commit genocide against our Arab Palestinian people," he said.

"It tries to crack down on the popular Palestinian uprising, and is building a hated apartheid wall that would banish 200,000 people from their land."

He reminded the audience of the critical situation facing Arab nations and the difficulties they face at this point in history.

"While Israel continues to occupy the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights and Spain occupies [Sapta and Mlilia], the eastern wing of the Arab homeland has witnessed a devastating blow that has shaken the whole nation, namely the US-UK occupation of Iraq, the country of Arab nationalism and civilisation."

End to occupation

Al-Maliki emphasised that the occupation of Iraq was a grave blow to the stability and security of the whole Arab region, calling on both popular and governmental organisations in the country to support the struggle of the Iraqi people to expel the occupying forces.

The secretary-general pledged the Union of Arab Jurists support for the resistance in Iraq and listed its five demands for the occupied country.

"As the union expresses its full support to parties leading the resistance against the invading powers, it calls for:

  • Occupation forces should leave Iraq immediately.
    Power should be handed to a national Iraqi government selected by Iraqi people in free direct elections.
  • Achieve national reconciliation.
  • The release of political prisoners held by US forces in Iraq.
  • Rejection of sectarianism and ethnic divisions, instead preserve the unity and integrity of the people and land of Iraq."

He further called on Arab leaders participating in the Arab summit, due to be held in Tunisia later this month, to work hard for Arab integrity in order to end the "state of weakness" in Arab nations.