Arab ministers may reject U.S. initiative

Feb. 28, 2004 at 8:00 AM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The foreign ministers of Arab Gulf countries meeting in Saudi Arabia Saturday were expected to reject the U.S. initiative for reforms in the Middle East.

United Press International learned Saturday the ministers of the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council would announce the rejection during their one-day meeting.

A well-informed source who asked not to be identified told UPI, "Such initiative will not be accepted in the Arab world as long as the Arab governments and peoples do not feel that it is based on a genuine effort to curb deteriorating political and security conditions in the Middle East which are mainly caused by Israel's practices in the Palestinian territories."

The U.S. plan calls for introducing democracy to Arab countries as a means for curbing terrorism and Muslim extremism.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak previously criticized the proposal, saying it was prepared without Arab participation and consultation.

The GCC foreign ministers were also expected to discuss proposals for modernizing the Arab League and review preparations for the upcoming Arab summit, scheduled in Tunisia next month.

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