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Posted On: 30 March 2009 09:01 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Key issues facing summit

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Leaders of the 22-member Arab League gather in Qatar for a two-day summit meeting starting today. Media from across the region have descended on Qatar, the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas. There are critical questions in play behind the scenes. The main issues Three issues are expected to dominate the agenda: The arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir over alleged war crimes in Darfur, Palestinian unity and peace talks with Israel, and reconciliation among Arab leaders after a turbulent period of conflicts and rivalry linked to the rising power of Iran. The summit will reiterate support for an Arab peace initiative for a land-for-peace deal with Israel that sees the establishment of a Palestinian state. Some language may hint that the peace offer will not last forever, in light of the surge in recent elections of the Israeli right which is less likely to accept compromises with the Palestinians. Islamist group Hamas runs the Gaza Strip and the Fatah group of President Mahmoud Abbas controls the West Bank. The United States and its allies back Abbas as the legitimate leader of the Palestinians in both territories and accuse Iran of pushing Hamas to continue armed resistance to Israel and drive hard terms for uniting the Palestinian territories once more under one government, after they split amid street fighting in 2007.