Arab League: no to bin Laden

DAMASCUS, Syria – The head of the 22-nation Arab League on Nov. 4 dismissed an appeal by Osama bin Laden to Muslims to join a holy war against the West.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa said, before a meeting here of Arab foreign ministers, “bin Laden doesn’t speak in the name of Arabs and Muslims.”

But Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq Al Sharaa, in his address to the opening session of the meeting of the ministers, blasted the United States for its “unlimited” support to Israel. Sharaa said it was “shameful” for Palestinians and Lebanese fighting Israeli occupation of their lands to be branded as terrorists.

The United States on Nov. 2 added 22 more groups to its list of alleged “terrorist” organisations and individuals, whose financial assets are to be frozen. The English-language Saudi Gazette said, “By logical extension, in view of these reports, there is no need for Sharon to hold any kind of talks with the Palestinians, now that the intifada has been branded as terrorism.”

Musa warned at the meeting’s opening that a new Israeli-Palestinian peace deal must aim at establishing a Palestinian state. “A peace process must have content and its aim must be the establishment of a Palestinian state,” he said.

U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have recently issued statements favoring the establishment of a Palestinian state, while stopping short of concrete details.

“We will not wait 10 more years, statements alone are not enough, they must be backed up on the ground,” said Musa.