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Sleiman: Arab League behind peace process while Israel rejects reconciliation.

Byline: The Daily Star

Summary: BEIRUT: Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said Monday that the Arab summit's decision to keep the Arab peace initiative on the table indicated that Arabs have chosen permanent and comprehensive peace while Israel rejected this choice. "The fact that the Arab summit in Libya has held to the Arab peace initiative indicates clearly the will of Arabs

BEIRUT: Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said Monday that the Arab summit's decision to keep the Arab peace initiative on the table indicated that Arabs have chosen permanent and comprehensive peace while Israel rejected this choice.

"The fact that the Arab summit in Libya has held to the Arab peace initiative indicates clearly the will of Arabs in achieving permanent and comprehensive peace.

"But the Israeli government rejects such a choice and goes on with building settlements and Judaizing occupied Jerusalem regardless of the will of the international community, which stresses the necessity of starting negotiations to place a peaceful settlement on the right track," Sleiman said.

Sleiman highlighted the positive reconciliatory atmospheres that characterized the Arab summit, especially between Egypt and Syria, and which were complementary to previous reconciliations.

He added that all such efforts enhanced the relations between Arab states.

Concluding its works on Sunday, the Arab summit in Libya renewed support for the land for peace initiative with Israel, rejecting pressures from Syria and Libya on the Palestinians to abandon talks with Israel and resume armed resistance.

The Arab League firmly opposed Israeli plans for new 1,200 Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.

Calls from Damascus and Tripoli to quit peace efforts reflected the depth of frustration and anger over the stalled peace process and continued Israeli construction in areas claimed by the Palestinians, particularly East Jerusalem.

They also revealed the deep division among Arabs over how to deal with the frozen Mideast talks. Arabs blame the sides' failure to return to the negotiating table on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

For his part, Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) leader MP Walid Jumblatt said in his weekly editorial in Al-Anbaa magazine that the Arab Summit in Libya revealed the "ongoing descending and regressing Arab track."

"This was manifested in the abstention from taking major decisions regarding the historical struggle in the region between Arabs and the Israelis in spite the current increase of Judaization projects in Occupied Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank," Jumblatt said.

"As if all that is happening on the ground in Palestine doesn't require taking basic and strategic decisions enabling us to get out from the dark tunnel that we entered decades ago," Jumblatt added.

The PSP leader said that no one expected strategic breakthroughs in this summit but " it was possible to address less acute issues like combating illiteracyAa poverty, deforestation, enhancing economic cooperation, inter-Arab trade, and expanding the Arab investment base of the Arab region."

Jumblatt added that such issues benefited the Arab people and societies that were still in need of developmental, social, educational and humanitarian efforts.

"The poor results of the Arab summit reminded us of the days when the Arab role was effective on the international level through addressing the issues of Africa and Third World Countries. However, today we are unable to take a unanimous decision achieving the minimum regarding the struggle existing in the region and its central cause, the Palestinian cause," Jumblatt said. -- The Daily Star

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Mar 30, 2010
Words:577
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