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Arab Leaders Blast Iran, Open Door to Renewed Egypt Ties

November 11, 1987|Times Wire Services

AMMAN, Jordan — Arab leaders--including Syria, which backs non-Arab Iran in the Persian Gulf war--condemned Iran for occupying Iraqi land and expressed solidarity with Baghdad and Kuwait, but stopped short of imposing sanctions on Tehran at the end of an Arab League summit meeting today.

They also agreed that member nations could re-establish relations with Egypt on an individual basis but bowed to Syria and did not readmit that nation to the league. One Arab diplomat said Syria refused to budge on that issue.

Just hours later, the United Arab Emirates announced that it had resumed diplomatic ties with Egypt.

The decision was announced shortly after leaders of the 21-member Arab League ended summit talks here, called initially to discuss the Iraq-Iran war.

Egypt was suspended from the league and most Arab nations broke off relations after then-President Anwar Sadat signed a peace accord with Israel in 1979.

The four-day emergency Arab League conference had been called primarily to seek ways to end the 7-year-old Iran-Iraq war and prevent its spread to neighboring Persian Gulf states.

"The conference condemned Iran for occupying Iraqi territory and . . . its procrastination over the implementation of a U.N. cease-fire call," said a statement read by Arab League Secretary Gen. Chadli Klibi at the closing ceremony.

League Statement

The toughly worded league statement urged Iran to "accept the resolution in full and in the consequential order of its clauses."

It expressed "solidarity with Iraq and appreciation for its acceptance of U.N. Security Council Resolution 598 and its positive response to all peace initiatives."

The 21 Arab League members present, including Syria, Iraq's longtime political and ideological rival, endorsed the U.N. resolution of July, which demands a cease-fire, troop withdrawals and an inquiry into who started the war, in that order.

The resolution also threatens measures against any noncomplying party, but Syria has opposed any Arab call for sanctions and they were not mentioned in the final statement.

Threats From Iran

It spoke of "Iranian threats, provocation and aggression" in the gulf and expressed solidarity with Kuwait, hit by several Iranian Silkworm missiles.

On the question of Egypt, Klibi said each of the Arab leaders had "decided that diplomatic relations between any Arab League member state and the Republic of Egypt is a sovereign matter to be decided in accordance with its constitution and laws."

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Taha Yassin Ramadan told the Jordan Times that his country would restore relations with Egypt "immediately after the summit."

Other gulf states are poised to resume diplomatic relations with Egypt on a unilateral basis.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said no to a photographer who asked him to shake hands with Syrian leader Hafez Assad at the closing session.

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