Arab League urges Libya to stay

By SADEK AL-TARHOUNI  |  Oct. 27, 2002 at 12:58 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Arab League Secretary General Amr Mousa Saturday urged Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to reverse his decision to pull out of the 22-member Arab League.

Mousa, who arrived in the Libyan capital earlier in the day, held talks with Gadhafi to discuss Libya's request, officially submitted Thursday, to withdraw from the Arab League.

Sources close to the Arab League in Tripoli said Mousa did not succeed in persuading Gadhafi to reconsider his decision, but said consultations were continuing.

Mousa told the official Libyan News Agency upon his arrival that Libya "is an Arab country with Arab people, which has persevered like the others in the current situation, as we are passing through one of the most serious phases that requires one hand and one mind."

He said that "Arab work from all is needed, and that does not mean we are weak, but we must insist and push for serious and decisive positions, and to confront this vicious attack against us. Keeping Libya in the Arab League is important to all, including Libya."

Mousa, insisting that Gadhafi's role "is important in the Arab process," added that the North African country's presence in the Arab League was instrumental in reviving common action.

"That's why I have great hope that the Libyan message has been received, but it needs to stay with its Arab sisters, and for the Libyan people to remain with their brothers in facing the serious attack we are facing today," he added.

Libya officially requested its withdrawal from the Arab League to protest its members' "weak positions" regarding issues in the region. It came after expressing frustration with the Arab positions.

According to the Arab League Charter, Libya's request cannot be implemented except one year after its submission.

Sudan's Foreign Minister Othman Ismail also arrived in Libya to discuss the same issue with officials and to persuade Tripoli to reverse its decision.

Ismail described Libya's request as a "warning to Arabs on the dangers and conspiracies they are facing," adding that "these dangers require serious stands."

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