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AL confirms delay of Arab delegation's visit to Israel
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08:09, July 11, 2007

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A senior Arab League (AL) official on Tuesday confirmed the delay of a visit by an AL joint delegation including Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and his Jordanian counterpart Abdul Ilah Khatib.

AL Assistant Secretary General for Palestinian Affairs Mohammad Subeih told Xinhua that the visit originally slated for Thursday was adjourned upon an Israeli request, adding that no certain time has been set for the visit.

However, an official from the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said on Tuesday that the visit of the AL delegation to be headed by Abul Gheit and Abdul Ilah Khatib will be postponed to July 25 from the initial date of Thursday.

The visit would be the first by the Arab League working group, set up in April to hold contacts with Israel over the Arab peace initiative.

The Arab Peace Initiative, first approved in 2002 and reactivated during an Arab summit in Riyadh late March, offers that all Arab countries recognize of Israel on condition that Israel withdraws from all Arab territories it occupied in the 1967 six-day war, including East Jerusalem.

Israel rejected the plan when it was first presented in 2002, but Olmert has recently expressed willingness to discuss it which he said contains some positive points despite reservations over a complete withdrawal and return of Palestinian refugees to Israel.

Apart from confirmation of the delayed visit, the AL official criticized a decision by the Israeli government preventing the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from getting compensation for damage caused by the Israeli occupation army in the Gaza Strip.

Such a decision is unacceptable in form and content and runs counter to the international law and human rights, said the official.

As for a proposal to send international peacekeeping forces to Palestinian territories, the official said the AL asks for deployment of international peacekeeping forces in all occupied Arab lands in 1967, adding such a demand has been submitted twice to the United Nations Security Council but was rejected by U.S. veto.

Source: Xinhua

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