[Mb-civic]    Arab League Condemns Terrorism in Iraq,

Michael Butler michael at michaelbutler.com
Wed Sep 15 09:54:58 PDT 2004

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  Arab League Condemns Terrorism in Iraq,
  Pledges to Support Baghdad
  Agence France Presse

  Tuesday 14 September 2004

  CAIRO - The Arab League condemned terrorism in Iraq and called on member
states to restore full diplomatic relations with the interim government in
Baghdad and do all they can to support it, after warning that the "gates of
hell" had been opened there.

  This came in a statement issued at the end of a meeting of Arab foreign
ministers in the Egyptian capital dominated by Palestinian-Israeli conflict,
Sudan and the violence in Iraq.

  "It is natural to resist occupation, but this does not mean cutting off
heads," Secretary General Amr Mussa told reporters at a news conference with
the Mauritanian foreign minister and current chairman of the ministerial
council, Mohammed Fal Bilal.

  "There has to be a differentiation between clear acts of terrorism and
resistance to occupation," Mussa added, referring to justifications Iraqi
militants use to perpetrate violence.

  Similar sentiments were echoed in the statement, which argued that "the
principles of authentic Islamic religion based on equality, mercy and
tolerance forbid and incriminate any harmful actions against the innocent."

  It "condemned all acts of terrorism in Iraq that target civilians,
security personnel, police, humanitarian and religious institutions and
abductions that are being carried out by terrorist organizations."

  It particularly denounced the abductions of "civilians employed by Arab
and foreign companies that are involved in the reconstruction of Iraq and
employees of international and humanitarian organizations providing aid to
the Iraqi people and of officials of diplomatic missions and journalists."

  The ministers also censured the US-led multinational force in Iraq for
carrying out operations that endanger innocent lives.

  They "condemned the aerial bombardments and other military operations that
target Iraqi civilians in the various towns and villages and result in the
deaths of many innocent people" and demanded an end to them.

  They also "strongly condemned the inhuman and immoral crimes and practices
committed by occupation soldiers against Iraqis, especially in prisons and
detention centers," saying they represented "a flagrant violation of human
rights and international charters and treaties."

  The statement urged Arab states to end their isolation of Iraq that began
with deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of neighboring

  It "reaffirmed the importance of Arab presence in Iraq, including
restoring diplomatic relations with Iraq at its normal level in support of
efforts being exerted by the interim Iraqi government in this field."

  The text also called on Arab nations to "offer help to the Iraqi
government in the field of training Iraqis in various fields, including
training the police, armed forces and providing them with the necessary

  It urged "the Arab League, in cooperation and coordination with the United
Nations, to provide all forms of assistance to Iraq in the different fields,
especially in the political process and reconstruction in Iraq."

  Mauritania's Bilal said "Arab states are concerned about Iraq and want to
help it overcome this crisis."

  Earlier, ministers adopted a resolution supporting Lebanon's right to
exercise its own choice, implicitly referring to the diplomatic flap over
Syria's political domination of its smaller neighbor.

  The league supported "Lebanon's right to exercise it's internal political
choices," according to Syrian and Lebanese diplomats, taking a swipe at
international accusations that Syria has too much say in the country's
political destiny.

  Syria maintains several thousands of troops in Lebanon, a holdover from a
larger contingent sent in during the 1975-1990 civil war.

  The ministers also discussed the situation in Sudan's troubled Darfur

  They "renewed solidarity with Sudan and reject all attempts to divide the
country" and expressed "rejection of military intervention in Darfur and
sanctions" against Sudan.



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