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Arab League Countries Decide Not to Send Troops to Iraq - 2003-08-05

Foreign ministers of Arab League member countries have decided not to send troops to Iraq. The U.S. had requested the Arab League do so.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said the meeting of the League's follow-up committee produced a consensus that sending Arab military forces to Iraq cannot be considered in what he called the current circumstances.

Mr. Moussa said work should be done to put an end to the occupation of Iraq and allow the Iraqi people to form a national government.

But a spokesman for the Secretary-General, Hossam Zaki, denied recent media reports that Arab League officials are refusing to meet with representatives of Iraq's new Governing Council, which was appointed by the U.S.-led coalition.

"We have not received any official contacts from the council. But, the Secretary-General has said he welcomes any council members who want to come and talk to him. He has said over and over again that the league is open and has its doors open to any Iraqi and any political personality or political force in Iraq that wants to consult with us, that wants to come to us and talk to us, we're open. So, we never closed any doors but there was never any official approach from the council," Mr. Zaki said.

On Monday, Secretary-General Amr Moussa said the League has drawn up a draft resolution stressing the importance of a unified Iraqi political structure to lead the country back to full sovereignty.

The recommendations made during Tuesday's committee meeting will help form the basis of talks at future Arab League summits.