Wednesday, March 28, 2007
King Abdullah calls Iraq an illegal occupation
Looks like the romance is over. Long time US allay Crown Prince Abdullah Changed tack at the Arab Summit meeting today as he criticised the US presence in Iraq.
King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia
"In beloved Iraq, blood flows between brothers in the shadow of illegitimate foreign occupation and hateful sectarianism, threatening a civil war," he said, in unusually strong criticism of the US presence in Iraq from a strong ally.
Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, and one of several world figures invited to the summit's opening session, went further by warning that rising tensions in the Gulf region risked a confrontation that could affect the entire world.
"Tensions in the Gulf region are shaping an ominous confrontation that could have incalculable consequences globally, regionally and among the Muslim umma [faithful].
Saudi king calls for unity
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has called for an end to the international blockade on the Palestinian people and told Arab leaders that sectarian violence was driving Iraq towards civil war.
At the Arab League summit in Riyadh, he urged Arabs to overcome their disputes and unify to face threats in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.
"It has become necessary to end the unjust blockade imposed on the Palestinian people as soon as possible so that the peace process can move in an atmosphere far from oppression and force," he said on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia last month brokered a unity government between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction and Hamas, hoping it would help end a Western financial blockade imposed after the Islamist group took office over a year ago.
The summit drew a number of world and Muslim leaders who backed the Arab plan for renewed Arab-Israeli peace efforts.
Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary-general said in an address: "This initiative sends a signal that the Arabs are serious about achieving peace."
Riyadh, pressed by its ally Washington to show more leadership in the region, has called on Muslim states to overcome divisions, arguing a united front will help persuade Israel to address Palestinian grievances.
King Abdullah stressed that Sunni-Shia violence in Iraq threatened the stability of the entire oil-producing Gulf region.
"It has become necessary to end the unjust blockade imposed on the Palestinian people as soon as possible so that the peace process can move in an atmosphere far from oppression and force"