Syria pushes Arab summit boycott

publisher: UPI

Publishing date: 1980-11-23

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Syria sought support from its hard-line Arab partners Sunday for postponement of this week’s Arab League summit until bitter disputes among member states are resolved.

Syria, which spearheaded opposition to the conference amid divisions in the Arab world over the Persian Gulf war, announced Friday it will boycott the summit scheduled to be held in Amman starting Tuesday. Marxist South Yemen has also promised to boycott.

Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam left Damascus late Sunday for Libya and Algeria with messages from Syrian President Hafez Assad detailing his objections to the summit.

At an airport news conference on arrival in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, Khaddam said: ‘Arab countries, as a result of Camp David agreements, are suffering disputes and for that reason we are requesting to delay the Arab summit,’ the state-run Damascus radio reported.

Khaddam also said ‘some Arab countries are ignoring the abnormal condition of relations among them.’

Khaddam was accompanied by Algerian Foreign minister Mohamed al-Sadiq Ben Yehya, who left him later for Algeria, the radio said.

Syria, Libya, Algeria, South Yemen and the PLO are grouped in an Arab Steadfastness and Confrontation Front, which opposes any peace compromise with Israel unless the Jewish state withdraws from the entire West Bank, including Jerusalem.

Syria fears that a summit, if held now, would further divide the Arabs while moderate states argue that such high-level talks are the only chance for reaching solutions to Arab problems.

 

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