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Posted On: 18 November 2008 08:50 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

Qatar bid to host talks on Darfur wins praise

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THE Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa has praised Qatar’s diplomatic moves seeking to hold a conference of the Arab-African Committee in Doha to end the Darfur crisis. The Arab-African Committee is chaired by HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani. In an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency, on the sidelines of the Arab Forum on Development and Employment which concluded in Doha on Sunday night, Moussa said, “The role of Qatar is very active, and the Qatari diplomacy always takes issues seriously at all costs,” adding “We will work to ensure the success of the Doha negotiations on Darfur.” Asked about the upcoming meeting of the Arab-African Committee on Darfur, Moussa said that it would be held in Doha and the schedule would be set in consultation with Qatari officials. On the role of Arab-African Committee on the Darfur issue, the Arab League chief stressed the “Arab and African stance to work together on Darfur,” pointing to the nature of the composition of the committee. The committee has equal representation from African and Arab countries and is chaired by HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani, in addition to Arab League Secretary-General and the President of the African Union Commission. It is aimed at initiating dialogue between the rebels and the Sudanese government. In this context Amr Moussa praised last Wednesday’s announcement by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of a cease-fire in Darfur, describing it as an important decision, and emphasised the general feeling that the time has come to put an end to the Darfur problem. The Arab League chief blamed the Palestinian factions for the prolonged political divide in the Palestinian territories. “The ongoing crisis in the territories risks undermining the fair cause of the Palestinian people,” Moussa said after his talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “This is a red line. We, Arabs, cannot accept such a divide. We spent 60 years in defence of the Palestine question. If the Palestinian factions are not aware of their responsibilities, we will have our say,” Moussa warned. Addressing the rival Palestinian factions, the Arab League chief said: “All of you have equal historical responsibilities for saving the Palestine question from blind alley it has entered.” “The talks will focus on ways to solve the Palestinian crisis and restore the Palestinian national unity,” he said noting that the Fatah-Hamas dialogue has not been cancelled but delayed and Egypt is doing its utmost to heal the rift between the two rivals. As for his talks with Bashar al-Assad, Moussa said they discussed the general situation in the Arab region with emphasis on the Palestine question, the Syrian-Lebanese ties and the upcoming meeting of Arab foreign ministers. Asked about the prospects of resuming Syrian-Israeli negotiations under the new US administration, Moussa said such negotiations could be resumed but they should be useful. He said Israel should take a serious step towards peace such as the step the Arabs have adopted when they offered their Arab peace initiative. The Arab ministerial meeting will probe the latest developments in the Palestinian territories, he noted. “We do our utmost to improve the relations among the Arab countries and mend the rift between some of them, but unfortunately the desired progress has not been made so far,” he regretted. Commenting on Barack Obama’s election as first US African-American president, Moussa said: “We hope the change of US administration will lead to change in US policy towards the Middle East.” “The United States, as a key player in the Arab-Israeli conflict, has to play the role of fair, unbiased broker. This is what we hope from the new US Administration,” he added. - QNA