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Emergency IOC Summit Rejects War on Iraq - 2003-03-05

An emergency summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference has ended in Qatar expressing opposition to any war against Iraq but calling on Iraq to abide by United Nations weapons inspections. The meeting concluded harmoniously despite an earlier shouting match between Iraqi and Kuwaiti delegates.

Islamic leaders have ended their one-day summit rejecting any war on Iraq and any threat to the security of any Islamic state.

The final communique also calls on Islamic states to refrain from taking part in any military moves against the security and territorial integrity of Iraq or any other Muslim nation. However, the document also calls on Iraq to observe U.N. resolutions demanding it destroy all its weapons of mass destruction.

And the summit condemns Israeli attacks in Palestinian territories and calls on Israel to respect U.N. resolutions on the Palestinian dispute.

Rising tensions over the threat of a U.S.-led war against Iraq were underscored by an incident at the opening session of the summit. During a finger-pointing speech against Kuwait by the head of the Iraqi delegation, Izzat Ibrahim, Kuwait's deputy foreign minister, Sheik Mohammed Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah, stood up to protest.

Mr. Izzat angrily told the Kuwaiti official to shut up, calling him a monkey and a traitor. Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Hamad al-Khalifa al-Thani, eventually calmed the two parties and moved on to the next speaker.

The outburst occurred minutes after the Qatari leader opened the summit, warning of grave consequences of any war aimed at disarming Iraq.

Sheikh Hamad said all peaceful efforts must be exhausted, because any other means will create more conflicts and expose the whole region to unpredictable dangers.

It was the second emergency summit on Iraq in less than a week. A meeting of the Arab League Saturday was temporarily suspended when Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi lashed out at Saudi Arabia for allowing Western troops on its territory. The remarks led to a walkout by the Saudi delegation.

The United Arab Emirates proposed at that summit that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein step down in order to preserve peace in the region. That proposal received support from Kuwait and Bahrain. But it was rejected by Iraq, and criticized by many Arab leaders as a dangerous precedent.

The Islamic summit was hastily convened following the summit of the nonaligned movement last week to draft a common position on Iraq by leaders of the world's one billion Muslims. The nonaligned summit urged Iraq to fully comply with U.N. weapons inspectors, but also said Iraqi disarmament should be enforced by the United Nations and not by individual states.