Arab League accepts Iraq council rep

The Arab League has accepted representation of the US-appointed interim council at the Cairo meetings next month.

    Al-Jaafari (C) told Amr Musa (L) last week that Iraq's seat should not be empty

    The controversial decision comes as Arab League chief Amr Musa met with an Iraqi leader opposed to the unelected council and its lack of legitimacy on Wednesday.

    The chairman of the Committee to Protect the Iraqi People, Mazhir Dulaimi, urged Arab governments not to allow the council to appoint a delegate to the Arab League or attend its meetings, according to Egypt's state news agency.
      
    He added the government to be unveiled by the Governing Council shortly "will be nothing but a secretariat under the order of [Paul] Bremer” - the US occupation administrator for Iraq. 
      
    Decision already made

    But a representative of the Governing Council will attend the next meeting of Arab foreign ministers which starts on 9 September in Cairo - though only in the discussions about Iraq.

    A council delegation which toured seven Arab states requested on Sunday to fill Iraq's seat at the Arab League, vacant since the collapse of former president Saddam Hussein's government on 9 April.
      
    The council delegation was led by its current chairman, Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

    He visited the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. A planned visit to Yemen was postponed. 
      

    Powell pushed for Arab League
    recognition of Interim council
    three weeks ago

    "I am happy with the Arab tour, the leaders of the states we visited showed understanding towards what is happening in Iraq and are keen to see Iraq take back its seat," Jaafari said in a separate interview with Iraqi television.
     
    US pressure

    The tour is seen as a result of pressure exerted by Washington on Arab states to support the council.
     
    US Secretary of State Colin Powell said as far back as 7 August that Washington would lobby Arab states to issue a declaration supporting the body when their foreign ministers meet in Cairo next month.
      
    Arab League chief Amr Musa relayed the interim council request to the 21 other members of the organisation. Oman was the first to answer back, giving its approval.

    Musa said Gulf states and Jordan were more inclined to recognise the council than Egypt or Syria. 
      
    Not all convinced

    Egypt’s Foreign Minister Ahmad Mahir renewed Cairo's reservations about the council's representativeness after receiving the delegation on Sunday.
      
    He said the formation of the council was a "step in the right direction" but was no substitute for a legitimate government.

    Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara voiced a similar opinion on Tuesday.
      
    The UN Security Council this month adopted a resolution welcoming the establishment of the Governing Council but stopped short of formally endorsing it, as initially sought by the United States.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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