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Libya Rejects Arab League Plea - 2002-10-26

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa says he has been unsuccessful in his effort to get Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi to change his mind about pulling Libya out of the Arab League.

For the second time this year, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa has flown to Tripoli in an effort to get Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi to change his mind about withdrawing from the organization. In March, he was successful. This time, however, the secretary-general says he has not succeeded in "getting the Libyan party to go back on its decision." Even so, the secretary-general said, consultations were continuing.

Mr. Moussa flew to Tripoli following Thursday's announcement that Libya intended to pull out of the organization that represents 21 Arab states and the Palestinian territories. No official reason was given for the announcement.

However, the Libyan leader is said to be upset over what he believes is the inefficiency of the organization in dealing with the civil war in Sudan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the possibility of a U.S.-led military strike against Iraq.

Mr. Gadhafi has made the same threat several times in the past, including during a national speech last March. In the speech, he expressed anger over a resolution passed during the Arab League summit in Beirut that said Arab states would normalize relations with Israel if it withdrew to pre-1967 borders, accepted a Palestinian state, and agreed to the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

If Libya makes good on its latest threat to leave the League, under the organization's charter, such a request would become effective one year after it is officially presented.

The Arab League was founded in 1945, in an effort to further Arab unity, although it is rare that member states agree on the issues they discuss.