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Arab FMs welcome Bush's call for Mideast peace conference
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08:35, July 31, 2007

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Arab foreign ministers Monday voiced their welcome to what they called the "positive points" of a U.S.- proposed overture to hold an International peace conference to impel the Middle East peace process.

The Arab top diplomats called for rallying support to hold a conference during which all parties concerned will hold direct negotiations on all tracks to reach a final settlement of the Arab- Israeli conflict in a specific time frame.

They made the call in a draft resolution reached after their more-than-eight-hour emergency meeting at the Arab League (AL) headquarters in Cairo.

At a press conference after the meeting, AL Secretary General Amr Moussa said, "The conference should be a comprehensive one, a serious one and the time frame has to be outlined."

But Syria expressed reservation to the proposal put forward by U.S. President George W. Bush on July 16 for holding an international conference later this year to group Israel, the Palestinians and some neighboring Arab states to help resume the stalled Middle East peace talks.

Yussef Ahmed, Syrian ambassador to Egypt, said in a statement that the Palestinians were now divided after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in mid June and discussing the Palestinian situation while they were divided rather than helping them would lead to the dissolution of the Palestinian cause.

The draft resolution asserted that Arab countries will continue supporting the Palestinians and their rights, calling for more efforts to achieve a just and comprehensive peace and end the Arab- Israeli conflict according to the Arab peace initiative, which was first approved in 2002 and reactivated during an Arab summit in Riyadh late March.

The initiative offers to extend recognition to Israel by all Arab countries provided that it withdraws from all Arab territories it occupied in the 1967 six-day war.

The draft also urged Israel to take measures to build trust and stop constructing Jewish settlements and separation fences and military operations against the Palestinians.

Palestinian Prime Minister-designate Salam Fayyad, who doubles as Foreign Minister of the Ramallah-based Palestinian caretaker government, attended the meeting.

At a press conference after his meeting with Moussa late Sunday, Fayyad noted that the Palestinians have a legitimate right to resist Israel's occupation.

Source: Xinhua

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