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Libya Threatens to Pull Out of Arab League

Libya has announced it plans to pull out of the 22-member Arab League because of dissatisfaction with the League's position on important Arab causes. The League's secretary-general is going to Tripoli to try to convince Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi to change his mind.

Arab League officials confirm Secretary-General Amr Moussa will fly to Tripoli to meet with the Libyan leader. When Mr. Gadhafi last threatened to leave the League in March, Mr. Moussa went to Tripoli and managed to talk him out of it.

This time, the Libyan move seems more certain. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed says he received a phone call Thursday from an official with Libya's national committee for African Unity informing him that Libya intends to leave the Arab League.

Mr. Maher says Libya is dissatisfied with the Arab League's position on several issues including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and a possible U.S.-led military strike against Iraq. The Libyan leader has also expressed anger at the League's inability to help end the war in Sudan.

While not asking that Libya reconsider its position, the Egyptian Foreign Minister said he hopes Libya will continue to work with other Arab states to help them overcome what he called the critical stage Arab states are going through.

Arab League spokesman Hissham Youssef told VOA his office has not received an official notification.

If Libya makes good on its intention to leave the League, under the organization's charter, such a request would become effective one year after it is officially presented.

Mr. Gadhafi has threatened several times in the past to leave the Arab League for various reasons. But the head of Cairo University's political science department, Hassan Nafae, says even if Libya is serious this time he doesn't believe it will ever actually happen. "It is not serious. And I don't think that the Libyan government will dare to really pull out of the Arab League," he said. "There will be a lot of pressure either from the civil servants of the Arab League itself, like Amr Moussa and so on, or from other Arab leaders or maybe from the Libyan public opinion to prevent Libya from doing so."

But earlier this month some 50,000 Libyans marched in the streets of Tripoli urging the government to quit the Arab League.

The League was founded in 1945 to help develop Arab unity.