JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA
The Islamic Peace Committee meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia ended on July 19 amidst hopeful signs.
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA
1. GV Conference building 0.04
2. ST INT. Delegates leaving conference room (2 shots) 0.13
3. SV Pakistan President Zia Ul-Haq shaking hands with delegates and leaving 0.19
4. SV Gambian delegation leaving 0.29
5. SV Yassar Arafat leaving 0.33
6. SV Habib Chatti leaving 0.44
7. SV Chatti seated with Visnews correspondent 0.49
8. CU Chatti speaking (French SOT) 1.09
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Background: JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA
The Islamic Peace Committee meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia ended on July 19 amidst hopeful signs. The seven member committee met for two days in an attempt to bring Iran and Iraq to mediation talks. The Committee announced that its chairman, Gambian President Sir Dawda Jawara, has been authorised to hold discussion with the authorities in Tehran and Baghdad. President Zia-ul-Haq said 'the Committee will not be defeated'. Other members of the Committee include Yassar Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Guinea, Malaysia, Senegal and Turkey. Secretary-General of the Islamic Conference Organisation Habib Chatti, under whose auspices the Peace Committee was formed, expressed hope that this sixth attempt to bring peace may get a hearing. Earlier efforts have not been well received by Iran as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are viewed as ideological adversaries as well as major financial backers of Iraq. There are signs that a softening of this position may be taking place. A Jeddah newspaper, The Arab News, reported on July 19 that an envoy of the conservative Gulf Co-operation Council may visit Tehran in the next three days. There are also unconfirmed reports that the Saudis have invited Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Akbar Rafsanjani to perform this year's Haj pilgrimage in Mecca and Medina. Finally, the long-expected offensive by Iran into Iraq has yet to happen. This apparent postponement and halt to bombing of civilian targets has brought a lull to hostilities. The 'Good Offices' Peace Committee was formed in 1981 by the Taif Islamic Summit Conference in Morocco.
Source: REUTERS - FREDERIC FABRE