KUWAIT CITY: Arab leaders meeting in Kuwait on Monday appeared to have healed a rift in ties exposed by Israel’s deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip as they pledged aid to the war-battered territory.
A reconciliation has been achieved between Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Syria, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani told the Doha-based satellite television Al-Jazeera. He gave no details of the deal.
Leaders of the four states and host country Kuwait held a meeting at the residence of Saudi King Abdullah following the opening session of the Arab summit in Kuwait City.
The efforts to heal a rift shown up by Israel’s offensive in Gaza were launched by Kuwait with the help of other Arab nations in the Gulf, a Kuwaiti source said.
King Abdullah called in a speech at Monday’s summit for an end to Arab differences.
“We have to overcome Arab political differences that led to a division in Arab ranks which can be exploited by those who want to achieve their regional ambitions, he said.
The split was highlighted after Qatar hosted an Arab summit on Friday from which the leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia stayed away.
The apparent reconciliation also came after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad expressed contradictory stands at the opening session.
Assad called on the summit to brand Israel a terrorist state for its assault on the Gaza Strip and urged Arab countries to “declare an unequivocal support for the Palestinian resistance.
Mubarak, however, warned that regional powers were trying to exploit Arab differences for the purpose of domination and reiterated that a peaceful settlement remained the only option.
“We proposed the Arab peace initiative seven years ago, he said. “It is time it receives a positive response. It should be taken seriously by Israel and international big powers … Middle East peace is an urgent necessity.
Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah opened the summit with a call for collective Arab measures setting out “practical steps to stabilize the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.