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Asharq Al-Awsat Goes Behind the Scenes at the Arab League Meeting | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London and Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat – A senior source who took part in the meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Beirut on Monday revealed details of the heated discussions that took place. The source told Asharq al Awsat that Syria’s Foreign Minister, Walid al Muallem, provoked a dispute after Saudi Arabia had called for an urgent Arab League summit to be held in Mecca. According to the source, Al Muallem said his country welcomed the move if it entails mobilizing Arab armies and imposing an oil embargo. Prince Saudi al Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister replied that oil was for development and not for war.

Then, Abdul Rahman Shalqam, the Libyan foreign minister, intervened saying, “I do not know why these issues always become inflamed and slogans are reiterated; we all know these have no effect. Let us give others a chance to speak.” The Syrian minister replied, “We are expressing dignity, steadfastness and sacrifice.” “Why don’t you apply this in the Golan Heights then?” his Libyan counterpart asked.

Another disagreement emerged later on in the meeting during a discussion on the make-up of the Arab delegation to the United Nations. The suggestion was that

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates and head of the current session, and Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Pan-Arab body would travel to New York . But the Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem asked to be part of the delegation. One of the ministers in attendance replied that only the Secretary General of the League and the head of the current session should go. A Moroccan diplomat then intervened and said the Qatari Foreign Minister should be Hamad I and not Hamad Al Thani, which provoked the anger of the Qatari delegation.

In Amman, the Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdullah al Khatib told Asharq al Awsat the Saudi initiative can only be described as strategic and aimed at halting foreign interference in internal Arab affairs. He indicated that the objective of Saudi Arabia was to solve Arab problems within an Arab framework.