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Arab Countries Urge Iraq to Accept UN Resolution - 2002-11-09


Most Arab nations are encouraging Iraq to accept the new U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraqi disarmament. The issue is on the agenda of foreign ministers gathering there for a meeting of the Arab League.

Jordan hailed the U.N. resolution, adopted Friday by unanimous decision of the 15-member Security Council.

Kuwait's foreign minister, Sheikh Sabah al Ahmed al Sabah, was quoted by local media as saying he hoped Baghdad would accept the resolution. Oman's foreign minister also expressed hope Iraq would implement the resolution, which gives Baghdad until Friday to accept the disarmament order and another 23 days to give a full accounting of its weapons program.

Syria, the only Arab member of the Security Council, said Saturday that it voted for the resolution to avoid the dangers of a military strike on Iraq.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said Egypt would continue to push Iraq to accept the return of weapons inspectors. Mr. Maher met with his Iraqi counterpart Saturday, ahead of the Arab League meeting.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said Iraq would consider the U.N. resolution and take what he called an appropriate position.

On Friday evening, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell gave interviews to several Arab television and satellite stations. He said Washington did not introduce the resolution as an excuse for military attack, as Iraq contends, but only to force Baghdad to disarm.

But there is still concern about the possibility of war.

Lebanon's daily newspaper An-Nahar said that a war in Iraq is simply on hold, as the new resolution is what the paper called a cover for U.S. hostilities. Lebanon's foreign minister, Mahmoud Hammoud, said an attack on Iraq would be considered an attack on all Arab states.

Iran said Saturday it was prepared to accept Iraqi refugees, in the event of an attack on Iraq.

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