Iraq leader criticises Arab League

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has criticised the Arab League over what he called its disregard for Iraq, after its chief demanded to know why a draft constitution failed to refer to the entire country as an Arab nation.

    Al-Jaafari: Arab League leaders should change their position

    "The Arab League must feel the Iraqi people's problems, and I told its secretary-general (Amr Moussa) during a telephone conversation that his organisation has been very slow to take an interest in the Iraqi people," al-Jaafari said in a statement on Tuesday.
      
    "We have not seen any Arab envoys in Baghdad while foreign officials are coming here one after another," he said, adding that Arab League leaders "have no right to cast doubt on Iraq's (political) experience ... they should change their position."
      
    The contentious article of the draft constitution states that "Iraq is part of the Muslim world and its Arab people are part of the Arab nation".

    Reaction

    "The Arab League must feel the Iraqi people's problems, and I told (Amr Moussa) ... that his organisation has been very slow to take an interest in the Iraqi people"

    Ibrahim al-Jaafari,
    Iraqi prime minister

    Moussa, who last week said the 22-member Arab League was disturbed by the charter, responded to al-Jaafari's comments saying he "has the right" to criticise.
      
    "But the occupation and the security situation have made blurry the Arab League's role in Iraq ... and al-Jaafari understands this," Moussa said in Cairo.
      
    President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, denied on Monday that Iraq was turning its back on the Arab League, of which it is a founding member.
      
    Kurds are the second-largest group in parliament and they demanded that the charter refer only to the Arab community as part of the Arab nation.

    Cairo meeting

    Aljazeera's correspondent in Cairo said that Moussa on Monday received an Iraqi delegation in the Egyptian capital.
     
    The Arab League chief and the delegates, led by the Iraqi deputy foreign minister, discussed the disagreement over the draft constitution.
     
    Moussa denied that the organisation was in a dispute with the Iraqi government, saying that the Arab League "will not refrain from supporting Iraq".

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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