Skip to comments.Arab League: Iraq Strike Would 'Open Gates of Hell'
Posted on 09/05/2002 6:48:15 AM PDT by Pern
CAIRO (Reuters) - Arab League chief Amr Moussa said Thursday that a strike against Iraq would "open the gates of hell" in the Middle East, and urged Baghdad to readmit weapons inspectors in coordination with the United Nations. President Bush has said he will ask Congress to back possible military action against Iraq and outline the threat posed by Iraq's arms program at the United Nations later this month.
At the end of a two-day Arab foreign ministers' meeting, Moussa told reporters:
"We hope and we will continue to work to avert war or any military action ... We will continue to work to avoid a military confrontation or a military action because we believe that it will open the gates of hell in the Middle East.
"When it comes to the issue of Iraq, yes indeed, we again reiterate the importance of the full implementation of Security Council resolutions. We are for the return of the inspectors within an agreement, an understanding, between the government of Iraq and the secretary-general of the United Nations."
The United States says it has not decided whether or not to use force against Iraq to oust President Saddam Hussein, whom Washington accuses of developing weapons of mass destruction. Iraq denies the charge.
Many countries insist that Iraq should be given a chance to re-admit U.N. weapons inspectors before any strike is contemplated.
Moussa said Arab states were trying to bring about a diplomatic solution and had helped bring Iraqi and U.N. officials together.
But he also complained about the United States' failure to insist that Israel obey U.N. resolutions relating to its occupation of Palestinian territory.
"When it comes to the implementation of Security Council resolutions, we wonder why should we insist only on Iraq to implement Security Council resolutions. Although this is correct. We should call on Iraq to implement Security Council resolutions, but what about Israel?"
Alongside the issue of Iraq, the continuing Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation was also on the agenda of the regular meeting of the 22-member Arab League.
The ministers did not immediately issue a final communique, as they traditionally do after such meetings.
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