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Arab League Chief Calls for Unity - 2003-04-10

The head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, is calling for Arab unity, warning of a so-called domino effect following the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Mr. Moussa, who had earlier lashed out at Arab leaders for failing to stop the war in Iraq, is once again calling for Arab unity.

Mr. Moussa says divisions among the Arab bloc prevented the United Nations General Assembly from convening to condemn the war.

But he says the war is threatening the region's peace and security, and consequently strengthened Arab resolve.

"We will have to do everything possible, everything in our power in order to preserve the unity of countries, especially when it comes to threats to their security and their interests and reaches the level of war rather than peaceful settlements of disputes," he said.

Mr. Moussa made his comments following a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan about the implications of the war on the region and the legal status of Iraq.

Mr. Moussa warned against a possible "domino theory" in the Middle East following the U.S.-led coalition's invasion of Iraq.

But he says the next step in the region should be an end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

"The next step, if there should be a next step, after what happened in Iraq is to concentrate on the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and to deal with this occupation and to move ahead as quickly as possible to put an end to it," Mr. Moussa said.

Mr. Moussa said he hopes the so-called Road Map for bringing and end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be released soon and will be applied "without condition."

Mr. Moussa is in New York for a special Security Council session Friday on regional peace and security issues.