Seven Arab Foreign Ministers met in Jordan on Tuesday (18 November), hoping to settle their differences in time for the Arab League Summit conference scheduled for next week.
SVs Various ministers arriving for meeting Amman, Jordan
SV Secretary-General of Arab League, Chedli Klibi (in sunglasses on right) arriving
SVs Various ministers and officials arriving
GVs/SVs Ministers and officials in conference (4 shots)
SV & PAN PAST Secretary-General of Arab League TO other delegate
SV & PAN Algerian Foreign Minister Mohammed Seddik Ben Yahya meeting with Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad
SCU Algerian Foreign Minister speaking with Syrian President (MUTE (2 shots)
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Background: Seven Arab Foreign Ministers met in Jordan on Tuesday (18 November), hoping to settle their differences in time for the Arab League Summit conference scheduled for next week. But, after two days of heated debate, the meeting ended in disarray when it failed to agree on whether the summit should be held at all. A plenary session of Ministers from the 22- nation Arab League, charged with drawing up an agenda for the summit, opened in Amman on Thursday (20 November). They hoped they'd be successful in this final attempt to save the conference.
SYNOPSIS: Disagreements over the Gulf war and many bilateral disputes have sharply divided the Arab world. Syria has led calls for the Amman summit to be postponed until the conflicts are resolved. The Libyan Jamahiriyah, South Yemen, Algeria and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) leaders support Syrian opposition to the conference. But a powerful bloc, comprising Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Jordan, has argued that the summit should convene on schedule and Heads of State should grasp the opportunity to settle their differences.
After this meeting ended in deadlock on Thursday (20 November) the rival camps held separate crisis talks. While the majority of Arab League members conferred in Amman , the group led by Syria met in Damascus to coordinate its opposition to the summit. Syrian Foreign Minister Abdel Halim Khaddam reportedly warned the other ministers that if the conference went ahead in the face of opposition, it would be the last of its kind and would lead to the break-up of the Arab League.
Amied the flurry of Arab diplomatic activity over the future of next week's summit, Algerian Foreign Minister Mohammed Sedik Ben Yahya met Syrian President Hafez al-Assad for talks in Damascus on Tuesday (18 November). Algeria and syria are members of the hardline alliance called the `Steadfastness and confrontation Front, originally set up to counter Egyptian-Israeli peace moves. A main objective of next week's summit is the formulation of new political moves against Israel. Without the participation of those states most opposed to the Camp David accords, the Summit would lose much of its significance.