Arab League relaunches peace bid

Arab leaders have relaunched a 2002 peace initiative that offered Israel normal relations in return for withdrawal to 1967 borders.

    A congenial atmosphere marked the proceedings in Algiers

    A communique read out at the final session of an Arab summit in Algiers by Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa on Wednesday said peace was the Arabs' "strategic option" to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict.


    "(We) affirm in this context the Arab peace initiative approved by the Arab summit in Beirut in 2002," it said.


    The Beirut initiative said Arab states would start to have normal ties with Israel once Arab conditions were met.


    But the communique did not mention normal relations and it was not immediately clear whether the summit had passed a separate resolution with slightly different language.


    Peace conditions


    The communique spelled out the Arab conditions for a comprehensive peace. These included:

    • Full Israeli withdrawal from Arab territories occupied in Palestine, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Shebaa Farms to the 4 June 1967 borders.

    • The establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

    • A just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees based on UN General Assembly resolution 194 of 1948.


    "(We) affirm in this context the Arab peace initiative approved by the Arab summit in Beirut in 2002"

    Arab League summit communique

    Aljazeera's correspondent in Algiers Shahata Awadh, quoting Algerian officials, reported that the atmosphere at the gathering was congenial.


    The summit managed to avert differences over prickly issues such as the Arab peace initiative and the league's finances.


    It had been feared that Amr Musa would resign over the organisation's financial crisis. But that was avoided, with Arab leaders taking a decision that every member country would meet its financial obligation.


    Additionally, Awadh reported, Arab leaders decided to establish a $30 million reserve fund to subsidise the league's activities and make up for the shortage caused by the non-payment or deficit payment by some members.


    The summit left undecided the composition of a three-nation group intended to activate the Arab peace initiative.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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