22nd Arab Summit kicks off highlighting rescuing E Jerusalem

11:44, March 28, 2010      

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The 22nd Arab League Summit, billed as the "Jerusalem Summit" kicked off on Saturday in the Libyan city of Sirte to discuss a package of major issues, with protecting East Jerusalem from Israeli violation high on the agenda.

The summit has gathered Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, among other regional leaders.

While leaders of eight AL member states, including Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz and Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, are staying away from the summit.

Arab and international efforts to revive Palestinian-Israeli talks and Israel's determination to forge ahead with the construction of new settlement in mostly Arab East Jerusalem are due to dominate the two-day meeting.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa urged Arab leaders to look into available alternatives in case the peace process to end the Arab-Israeli conflict fails.

"We should study the possibility that the peace process fails and look into the consequences of that," Moussa said in his opening address.

Libyan leader Gaddafi said Arab regimes are faced with unprecedented and increasing challenges from the public in the Arab states.

"The Arabs are waiting for actions from this summit. They had enough of speeches and talks. The Arab citizens are currently rebellious and observing the situation," said Gaddafi.

In Thursday's preparatory meeting for the annual gathering of regional leaders, Arab Foreign Ministers' Council agreed to name the meeting as "the summit of supporting Jerusalem steadfastness."

Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani handed over the summit's presidency to Libyan leader Gaddafi and said the joint Arab action faces a genuine crisis in his opening speech.

"It is not possible anymore to ignore the real crises the Arab action faces," said al-Thani, calling for forming a higher committee to present suggestion to address the various crisis challenging the Arab region.

The summit will also discuss a Syrian-proposed initiative for a mechanism to solve the inter-Arab differences.

Wu Sike, China's Special Envoy on the Middle East, attended the opening session of the summit along with other attendees including UN chief Ban Ki-moon, African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Abdel-Rahman al-Attiyah and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Source: Xinhua
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