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Arab League Meets on Saudi Proposal, Mideast Violence - 2002-03-10

Arab League foreign ministers are meeting in Cairo to discuss the escalating Israeli-Palestinian violence and the Arab position on the recent Saudi Arabian proposal for peace.

The Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, opened the weekend meeting saying Arabs could not remain idle after Israel launched its fiercest attacks against Palestinians since their uprising erupted 17 months ago.

At their Cairo meeting, Arab League ministers have urged the international community, including the United Nations, to monitor the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, also briefed his colleagues on the Saudi proposal for peace in the region. It is essentially an agreement for Arab states to give full diplomatic recognition to Israel in exchange for Israel's full withdrawal from Palestinian territories.

Mr. al-Faisal discussed the plan with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak early Sunday in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The plan has been gaining support from many Arab states but not everyone is in favor. The Libyan representative, Ali Al-Turayki, told the Cairo meeting that his country regarded the Saudi plan as unacceptable public relations that can achieve nothing.

The Saudi peace proposal will be discussed in detail at the end of this month at the Arab League's annual summit in Beirut.