Kuwait, Asharq Al-Awsat- An Arab minister has accused Qatar and Syria of attempting to thwart the Arab rank and at the same denied that there is any inter- Arab division as one of the repercussions of the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip and the Arab countries’ different stands on it.
The Arab minister, who asked not to reveal his identity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the preparatory meetings for the Kuwait economic summit “confirmed these two countries’ stands to thwart any joint Arab decisions. It is not enough that they deliberately took part at lower levels (Syria participated with its envoy to the Arab League and Qatar with the assistant foreign minister) but also insisted on objecting at every detail and wished to stop any accord among the Arab countries. He added that despite all the attempts to thwart the Arab summit in Kuwait “through the extraordinary Doha summit, which was unsuccessful, the world sees how the Arabs agreed on this summit and what decisions it will take while forgetting quickly all the results of the Doha summit.”
The Arab minister went on to say that “for the first time at the Arab summits, we find unhealthy attempts to pressure for participation in the summit. Contacts were made with several countries to inform them there was a quorum and this caused confusion in the countries that had already announced their participation before realizing that there was no quorum.” According to the senior Arab official, there were other attempts for the participation of the countries which had agreed to attend through their ambassadors in the Qatari capital Doha “while on our part and when we learned about these attempts, we stressed to our ambassador that we did not desire to accept the invitation at all and attend these meetings.” He pointed out that an Arab party is trying “with all the means” to thwart the reunification of the Arab rank “particularly in these critical situations by setting the Arab countries one against the other.” He said the economic summit in Kuwait is best evidence of this “as there were many attempts to thwart it but the entire world is watching the summit’s impact on the Arab situation and on strengthening solidarity while the Doha summit failed to have any impact at the Arab level.”
Regarding the proposals of the extraordinary Gaza summit to the Kuwait economic one, the Arab minister said “what prevents forwarding them directly to the Kuwait summit” and added that “we are not embarrassed by any proposals as long as they serve the Arab interest and specifically in Gaza.” In reply to a question about the Arab peace initiative and the “extraordinary Doha summit’s” demand to suspend it, the minister stressed that the majority of the Arab countries do not approve this proposal since Israel must be put in an embarrassing position to the end. In this context, the Arab minister disclosed the substance of discussions at the preparatory meetings of the Kuwait summit by saying the Sultanate of Oman proposed a review of the extent of Israel’s commitment to the Arab initiative and then assessing it and submitting a report of this assessment to the periodic Arab summit in Qatar. The minister said: “How can an assessment be carried out of the initiative which Israel did not accept in the first place? We do not have an alternative, so how can we assess or suspend it as some are demanding?”
Asharq Al-Awsat asked him about the current Arab situation and whether he believes it is similar to the Arab situation following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and he answered: “No, absolutely not. There is nothing that can bring back that period in which we lived with all its details and bad memories. What is happening at present is that an axis exists which is made up of two countries that have split from the Arab rank and there are with them a small number of countries that are not basically influential and there is another axis which is the majority and committed to the joint Arab action constants and action without any brinkmanship or the search for temporary interests.”
The Arab minister concluded his statement by saying that “every Arab country must know its status and weight well and no country can play a bigger role than its own one.” He recalled “what (former Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein did when he abandoned the two most important Arab countries, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and lost his country, his cause, and him own self. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are the safety valve for the Arab causes and anyone seeking to marginalize their roles will most certainly be a loser.”