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Iraq-Kuwait Accord Eludes Arab Ministers Ahead of Key Summit

March 26, 2001|From Associated Press

AMMAN, Jordan — Arab foreign ministers tried Sunday to persuade Iraq and Kuwait to agree to a compromise to patch over their dispute, which has long divided the Arab world, ahead of a key summit here this week.

But the ministers were unable to reach a deal by the time formal meetings ended Sunday night. If further talks can't resolve the dispute, Arab heads of state will have to tackle it when they meet Tuesday.

The summit aims at reviving the regular gatherings of Arab League leaders that have been disrupted since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. But divisions are sharp over what stance the league should take on U.N. sanctions against Iraq--with Baghdad pressing Arab leaders to call for their immediate lifting, a stance opposed by Kuwait.

The summit in the Jordanian capital convenes amid pressure from the Arab public that leaders address months of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has killed more than 420 people. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrived Sunday evening to attend the summit.

Under a draft statement, Arab leaders would underline their support for the Palestinians and condemn what they call the continuing Israeli aggression, coercion and siege of the Palestinian territories.

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