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Arab world demands UN meet to end war at once

Arab ambassadors at UN want an urgent meeting of Security Council for "immediate" end to Iraq war.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2003 14:12 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Arab Ambassadors at the United Nations have demanded an urgent meeting of the Security Council to call for an "immediate end to aggression" against Iraq launched by the United States and Britain.

The demand came shortly after the Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo, which condemned the "aggression" and favoured a meeting of the Security Council to discuss the issue and take action.

Iraq's Ambassador to UN Mohammed Aldouri, who holds the rotating presidency of the 22-member group, submitted the letter to the Council demanding a meeting.

But, it is the 15-member Security Council, which will decide whether to hold the meeting or not.

However, any resolution that the Arab group might bring forward seeking an end to "aggression" has no chance of being adopted as both the United States and Britain, the main partners of the coalition forces, have the veto power.

Besides, it would need at least nine votes to be adopted. Diplomats said that it was premature to do head count at this juncture. But it would definitely give a chance to members opposed to the war to once again criticise the US-British action, which, they said, had no legal basis.

Arab diplomats wished that the meeting would hold as soon as possible and said it was vital that the Security Council would hold the discussions immediately at a time when "aggression" was in progress.

At the Arab group's meeting, only Kuwait, which is under repeated missile attacks from Iraq since the war started, opposed the proposal and supported American action.

Syria is the only Arab country, which has membership in the Security Council.

Its Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe said the Arabs would press for adoption of a resolution calling for an end to "aggression" and withdrawal of all foreign troops from the Iraqi territory.

The demand was submitted late on Monday and it was likely to be formally circulated today till the reaction of various members would be known.

Diplomats say they do not rule out a meeting but adoption of any resolution virtually impossible.

The United States and Britain were unable to get the nine votes for the second resolution in the Council, which would have authorised military action.

Diplomats say it is unlikely that all those who opposed the American resolution would support the Arab one.

First Published: Mar 25, 2003 10:00 IST