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Arab Leaders Discuss Iraq Situation - 2003-02-09


Arab leaders from Egypt, Syria, Libya and Saudi Arabia have been holding talks aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the crisis in Iraq. The meeting came as the chief U.N. weapons inspectors held a second day of talks in Baghdad.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa are in the Egyptian resort town Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss ways to avoid a U.S.-led war against Iraq.

President Mubarak was to meet separately Sunday with Prince Saud and President Assad. It has not been disclosed whether all five will meet jointly. Arab leaders have repeatedly called for giving the arms inspectors more time to complete their work.

The diplomatic activity was occurring as chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, held a second day of meetings Sunday with Iraqi officials in Baghdad aimed at disarming Iraq of any weapons of mass destruction.

Both men reported some progress during talks Saturday, including the handing over of additional, undisclosed, documents. Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei are to report to the U.N. Security Council Friday on progress toward determining whether Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction, something Baghdad denies.

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