Arab League Secretary General Concerned over Iraq Crisis

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa expressed concern over Iraq crisis Monday following his talks with Greek leaders.

He told the press after his talks with Greek Premier Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou that he was extremely concerned that the Iraq war could spill over and destabilize the entire Middle East.

Mousa said "we are in the middle of a very serious crisis" and stressed the need for the challenges and dangers they entail be handled as soon as possible.

"The issue is how the war will stop as soon as possible to enable us to be led to a political settlement of whatever issues have been raised," he said.

Mousa said the European Union, the Arab League, the Greek EU presidency and many other foreign leaders should have continuous intensive consultations "for a solution to be found as soon as possible."

Asked whether he is concerned over the possibility of other countries getting involved in the war, such as Syria or Iran, Mousa said the situation in Iraq is very serious, one way or another, and one can imagine how tragic it would become if whatever other country got involved in the war.

On the question of what the Arab League can do for an end to the crisis, Mousa said consultations and contacts are continuing with the EU presidency, Russia and other countries able to contribute in this direction, clarifying that he cannot announce something more specific at this stage.

Mousa termed unprecedented and excessive "the destruction we are seeing in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, not only for whatever Arab but also for whatever thinking person."

Papandreou said his discussion with the Arab League's secretary general "in these very difficult times" was very important and useful. He added that the European Union had very close cooperation with the Arab countries in all these past months and weeks and will continue its consultations with the Arab League, sending a message that there is no clash between Europe and the Arab world.



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