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Libyan Leader to Attend Arab League Summit, After Threatening to Pull Out - 2002-03-04

Libya says it will attend this month's Arab League summit. Libya's leader, Muammar Gadhafi, had recently threatened not to attend the meeting and to even withdraw completely from the league. He apparently changed his mind after a meeting late Sunday with the Arab League's secretary-general.

On Saturday, Mr. Gadhafi threatened to quit what he called "the ridiculous" Arab League, saying it was "unable to arrive at any solutions" to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. But now it looks like he will be in Beirut at the end of this month when the 22 nations of the Arab League hold their summit. At least, that is what Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa is saying.

The head of the Arab League met late Sunday with the Libyan leader in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte. Following the meeting, Mr. Moussa said Mr. Gadhafi assured him that his country would participate in the Arab League summit, March 27-28. Mr. Moussa, without giving any further details, also said Libya would delay its withdrawal from the Arab League.

On Saturday, Mr. Gadhafi rejected a proposal from Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah that calls for complete Arab normalization of relations with Israel in return for a full Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands it captured during the 1967-68 Mideast war.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in Washington for meetings with President Bush, is expected to urge Mr. Bush to give serious consideration to the Saudi initiative. While the U.S. State Department officials have welcomed the Saudi plan, they have also cautioned it is not a solution to Israeli-Palestinian violence.

On Saturday, Mr. Gadhafi proposed his own peace plan that, among other things, calls on Israel to allow the return of Palestinian refugees and to establish a combined Palestinian-Israeli state called Isratine with Jerusalem being a place where people from all religions can worship.