Doha summit urges Arabs to suspend ties with Israel

January 17th, 2009 - 7:13 am ICT by IANS  

Doha/Kuwait City, Jan 17 (DPA) Leaders attending a summit on the crisis in Gaza Friday urged Arab states to follow the lead of Qatar and Mauritania and suspend ties with Israel in protest against the attack on Gaza.The Qatar meeting was attended by representatives of a number of Arab states, and was also attended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and members of Hamas’ Damascus-based political bureau.

The meeting followed a similar discussion in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh Thursday, and precedes an Arab League economic meeting due to cover the same issue in Kuwait Monday.

“The summit urges all Arab countries to reconsider its economic and political relations with Israel and all kinds of normalisation,” read the statement issued by the Doha meeting.

Qatar and the north-African state of Mauritania announced on Friday that they were freezing their low-level ties with Israel.

Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab states which have full diplomatic relations with Israel.

A list of recommendations produced by the summit included condemning Israel for the attack on Gaza, and holding it responsible for violations of international humanitarian laws.

It also demanded a ceasefire and “unconditional immediate” withdrawal of the Israeli troops from the Hamas-controlled enclave.

Egypt, the main mediator between the militant Palestinian movement and Israel, did not attend.

Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem said that the Doha recommendations will be discussed at the Kuwait meeting.

Qatar and Mauritania’s move to suspend ties with Israel followed calls by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Khaled Meshaal, an exiled Hamas political bureau, for all Arab nations to cut ties with Israel.

Al-Assad also declared that the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which would extend full Arab diplomatic ties to Israel in return for a withdrawal to pre-1967 lines, was now “dead”.

“Syria has decided that indirect peace negotiations with Israel will be halted,” he said.

Meshaal said that Hamas would not accept any preconditions to a ceasefire by Israel in the Gaza Strip, adding that the Palestinian movement in Gaza “had not suffered a defeat,” and that they would therefore not accept any preconditions of the opponent.

Meshaal said that the most important elements of any ceasefire would be: The end of attacks in Gaza; withdrawal of Israeli troops from the salient; the lifting of the economic blockade and the re-opening of the border crossing points between Egypt and Gaza.

In Kuwait, Arab foreign ministers have reached a draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and reopening the border crossings of the strip.

The draft, raised by Palestine’s envoy to the extraordinary ministerial meeting, will be tabled to the Arab Economic, Social and Development Summit to be held Monday.

During their pre-summit meeting, the Arab foreign ministers outlined their countries’ commitment to contribute up to two billion US dollars to the post-war reconstruction process of the Palestinian enclave.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa complained about the manner in which the joint Arab action was taking place, when answering a question about Arab summits in Kuwait and Qatar.

“The situation is in complete chaos and this is unacceptable because the joint Arab action needs genuine cooperation,” he said.

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