Leaders of Arab and Islamic nations are meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Qatar for discussions that are likely to focus on Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the fight against terrorism.
Many political analysts in the Arab and Islamic worlds are expressing concern that the U.S. campaign against Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida terrorist network may extend beyond Afghanistan. The foreign ministers of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference are expected to make that concern very clear when they gather in Doha.
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa told Egyptian radio Tuesday the leaders of the Arab League, which is also meeting in Doha, and the foreign ministers of the Islamic countries will take clear and distinct positions against attacks involving any Arab country.
The secretary-general said there is a necessity for the U.S. and British strikes to be confined to terrorist basis in Afghanistan. He says if strikes occur in any Arab country there will be in serious ramifications, although he didn't specify what they might be.
Echoing the secretary-general's remarks, the Omani foreign affairs minister, Yousef bin Alawi, told Time magazine that, while Arab nations are committed to fighting terrorism, they are vehemently opposed to targets that include Arab countries.
The meetings of the Arab League and foreign ministers of Islamic countries are expected to produce position statements regarding the military strikes in Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Tuesday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he has been in direct contact with President Bush urging him to take action regarding creation of a Palestinian state. "I think the President of the United States, after he declared that he recognizes that establishing a Palestinian state, he means it. But I think he might be somewhat busy these days," said President Mubarak. "But I asked him several times that [he] should put this in action. There should be a Palestinian state. The problems of the Palestinians should be solved. The problem of the Middle East should reach a comprehensive settlement."
President Mubarak said he has repeatedly told President Bush the Israeli-Palestinian crisis is one of the elements contributing to creation of terrorism in the world.