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Sat 17 Jan 2009 02:24 PM

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Arab countries cut ties with Israel over Gaza

Qatar and Mauritania break links after Doha summit calls for united stand against Israel.

Qatar and Mauritania have suspended economic and political ties with Israel in protest against the war in Gaza, it was reported Saturday

The move was announced following calls by Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, and Khaled Meshaal, the exiled leader of Hamas, for all Arab nations to cut ties with Israel at a Qatari-hosted Arab summit on Friday.

Addressing leaders at the emergency Arab summit in Doha, Al Assad declared that the Arab initiative for peace with Israel was now "dead".

Arab countries should cut "all direct and indirect" ties with Israel in protest against its offensive in Gaza, he said, according to Doha-based TV network Al Jazeera.

Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab countries to have signed peace treaties with Israel and have Israeli embassies.

Participants of the Qatari summit, which included the Palestinian political factions Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), agreed to present a Kuwaiti-hosted summit being held on Sunday with a list of measures to end the conflict in Gaza.

The demands call for Israel to stop its offensive in the Strip, to be held responsible for "crimes" committed in Gaza and to immediately re-open all crossings.

The summit also agreed that all Arab countries should form a "sea-bridge" that would enable aid supplies to reach Gaza.

However, the Doha summit has highlighted deep divisions within the Arab world, with Egypt and Saudi Arabia declining to attend, preferring instead to send delegates to a separate meeting of foreign ministers in Kuwait.

This was mainly becuase the summit recognised the legitimacy of the Gazan factions, whereas Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Western nations have sidelined them from ceasefire talks.

Meanwhile, speaking from Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, said Israel should be barred from the United Nations while it continues to ignore UN demands to end the fighting in Gaza.

"How is such a country, which totally ignores and does not implement resolutions of the UN Security Council, allowed to enter through the gates of the UN?" he said.

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rdm 11 years ago

The so called moderate Arab leaders have nailed the last nail in their coffins, they have been revealed for what they are in the eyes of their populations, so now they try to make theater amends. It simply won't work. Lots of blood will shed in the future, and most of it will belong to those Arab leaders.

Ajaz 11 years ago

If you are a true human being irrespective of any religion, you must cut all relation with Israel due to their cruelty in Gaza & with Palestanian. Israel don't want peace in Middle East or any part of the world. They are creating more danger to their own lives.