• Short Summary

    Arab kings and presidents started arriving in Jordan on Monday (24 November) hoping to heal the growing problems in the Arab world.

  • Description

    GV Dome of All Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem, PULL BACK TO Jerusalem skyline

    GV Men and women praying in courtyard of mosque (2 shots)

    1978: GV United States President Jimmy Carter watches as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin embrace and congratulate each other after signing Camp David accord (5 shots)

    CU & GVs Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini blessing his followers in holy city of Qom (3 shots)

    GV Hand to hand battle between Iraqis and iranians in Khorramshah (4 shots)

    MV Libyan Jamahiriyan President, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi in jeep shaking hands with crowds hands with crowds and being cheered (3 shots)

    GV Syrian recruits staging a mock battle to capture members of banned Moslem Brother-hood (3 shots)

    CU Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef Ibn Abdul Aziz announcing end of siege of Grand Mosque

    SV & CUs Captured renegades put on display for newsmen (2 shots)

    SV PAN Jarmaq, Southern Lebanon, crater in road, man removing detonator from small mine on roadside (2 shots)

    SV Wounded child crying as he receives treatment from medical personnel

    GV PAN Members of "The Steadfastness and Confrontation Front" meeting in Tripoli in April 1980 PAN AROUND meeting

    CU Algerian President Benjedid Chadli signing accord to continue to oppose Camp David Middle East peace document

    CU Syrian President Hafez al-Assad signing

    SV Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leader, Yasser Arafat signing

    SV Libyan leader Colonel Gadafi signing

    Initials BB


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Arab kings and presidents started arriving in Jordan on Monday (24 November) hoping to heal the growing problems in the Arab world. But the threat of an organised boycott remains. The planning of the Arab League summit has been fraught with problems as hardline states called for the meeting to be postponed because of serious inter-Arab conflicts -- mainly over the Gulf war between Iraq and Iran. Syria mounted a high-level diplomatic initiative on Sunday (23 November) to encourage other Arab leaders to stay away. the Syrians are warning that if the conference goes ahead on Schedule, it might be the last, and could lead to the breakup of the Arab League.

    SYNOPSIS: Despite many differences, members of the Arab League share a common bond in the Islamic religion. And most Arab leaders see themselves as defenders of the Moslem faith and its holy places. So israel's declaration that Jerusalem is the indivisible capital of the Jewish state is considered to be open aggression.

    The Arab League tried unsuccessfully to prevent Egyptian President Anwar Sadat -- once one of its most influential members, from signing the Camp David Peace accord. Two years later, mr. Sadat is still an outcast. The League threw Egypt out of the alliance, moved its headquarters from Cairo, and most importantly denied Egyptians much needed aid.

    The rise of a charismatic holy man -- the Ayatollah Khomeini, who overthrew the Shah of Iran, has had a mixed reaction from League members. Some fear that their own restless Shi'ite minorities are too attracted to the idea of a fundamentalist Moslem society.

    The Gulf war between Iran and Iraq has opened up a major rift in the Arab alliance. The Iraqis accuse the Syrians and Libyans of helping to arm the Iranians, and they want to get the issue out into the open. The Syrians say questions about the Gulf war should be discussed in a series of mini-summits.

    There has also been a new break in relations between Libya and the Saudi Arabians. The Saudis have reacted strongly to Libyan criticisms of the use of United States-supplied early warning craft. On Monday (24 November) it seemed likely that along with Syria, South Yemen, Algeria, Lebanon and the P.L.O., the Libyans would boycott the Amman meeting.

    While Syria is actively backing opposition groups dedicated to overthrowing the present iraqi government, it has also had to set up highly trained units to destroy the Syrian-based Moslem Brotherhood. The group strongly opposes president al-Assad and the privileged Alawite minority. And recently the Syrians have accused the Jordanians of backing Syrian rebels.

    The Saudis have ben trying to persuade the Syrians and other hardliners to attend the summit. But the Saudi royal family has also had to look inward, after last December's Mecca siege. The renegades, who apparently resented the westernisation of the Kingdom came from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait and the two Yemens.

    The Palestinians, still operating from the bases in Southern Lebanon are in an awkward position. Jordan, the host-country for the proposed summit now has a population which is two thirds Palestinian. And though the P.L.O. is a member of the hardline "Steadfastness and Confrontation Front", the organisation relies on the moderate Saudis and Gulf oil states for funding.

    The Front leaders met in Tripoli last April (1980) to restate their opposition to the Camp David accords, and refocus their attention on fighting Israel. But the five will probably boycott the Amman meeting. They say that bitter inter-Arab conflicts are too deep to be discussed effectively at the moment. But Arab diplomats warn that the rift over the summit is the most serious since Jordan's bloody expulsion of Palestinian guerrillas, split the Arab world in 1970.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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