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ARAB AFFAIRS - Nov. 10 - Foreign Ministers Discuss Iraq In Cairo.

The Arab League convenes a meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo to discuss how Baghdad should respond to the Nov. 8 UN Security Council resolution 1441 demanding unhindered access by UN weapons inspectors to Iraqi sites suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction (see last week's Recorder). Iraqi FM Naji Sabri and Syrian FM Farouq Al Shara meet Egyptian Pres. Mubarak. Sabri says Baghdad is still studying the resolution. (Baghdad has until Nov. 15 to agree to the resolution's tough terms). Egyptian FM Ahmad Maher said after the talks between Sabri and Mubarak that the UN resolution "provides the opportunity for a peaceful settlement", adding: "I think we can expect a positive position by the Iraqis". Al Shara, whose country surprised the international community by backing the resolution, said: "The resolution... has pushed the phantom of war into the distance for several weeks or several months. I am satisfied with that. Our goal is to spare Iraq and the region from a military strike. This was a principle which we were not prepared to abandon in any form". Arab League Sec-Gen. Amr Moussa said the meeting of Arab foreign ministers would issue a resolution "concerning the threat to attack Iraq". Moussa told reporters that the new UN resolution was an improvement from previous drafts because it dropped references to the automatic use of military action if Baghdad failed to comply. In a related development, chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said in an interview with the Arabic-language daily Al Hayat that a UN-mandated 30 days gave Baghdad enough time to compile a required list of weapons of mass destruction. Blix said he wanted a "very clear declaration" from Iraq, adding: "If we see they have omitted anything they have, we will present a report [to the Security Council]".
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Title Annotation:Arab League
Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:Nov 16, 2002
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