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Islamic Conference Opens with Shouting Match - 2003-03-05

An emergency summit of the Islamic Conference opened Wednesday in Qatar with visible evidence of the rift over Iraq. A shouting match between Iraqi and Kuwaiti delegates underscored the rising tensions in the region.

The summit's opening session was disrupted when Kuwait's deputy foreign minister Sheik Mohammed Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah stood up to protest a finger pointing speech by Iraq's second ranking official, Izzat Ibrahim.

Mr. Izzat told the Kuwaiti official to shut up, calling him a monkey and a traitor.

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad al-Khalifa al-Thani calmed emotions and moved on to the next speaker.

The outburst occurred minutes after the Qatari leader opened the summit warning of grave consequences to war.

Sheikh Hamad said all peaceful efforts must be exhausted, because any other means of disarming Iraq will create more suffering. The summit was hastily convened to draft a common position on Iraq by leaders of the world's one billion Muslims.