President Saleh asks Arab leaders to work for unity

UNISIA, May 22 (Saba) – President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Saturday called on Arab counterparts to work hard for achieving Arab unity and overcome all obstacles hinder that goal.Yemen is participating in Tunisia summit by Prime minister Abdul Qader Bajammal who heads the Yemeni delegation to the summit.In his speech in Arab League summit, President Saleh said that Yemen believes that unification of the Arab nation is the most important move for Arabs. He also reminded them with the Yemeni initiative to overhaul the Arab League.”Yemeni initiative, has been presented on social, political and cultural reforms in Arab nation, depends on the Sana’a Declaration that represents visions of governments, parliaments and organizations of civil society in Arab world within framework of the real partnership to offer a clear vision that tackles current disturbances in all Arab countries,” he said.He added that the initiative represents a transparent and honest vision which is far from political or media talk to reform the Arab work and face challenges and unify ranks.”It is sad to say that the present Arab situation encourages others to attack Arab countries one by one … if there is no Arab wakefulness and real solidarity and Arab active joint work, the situation would be worse than now and the risks and challenges would be increased as the world around us is unifying in time we are moving in opposite direction,” he said.President Saleh said that holding the summit was “one of our concerns during previous period and we worked seriously to fasten preparations of holding the summit as soon as possible.””Unfortunately, the date of the holding summit coincided with the national day of Yemeni people that led us to stay in homeland to share our people their celebration on this occasion,” he said.President Saleh expressed hope that the summit would be successful and come out with positive results that meet ambitions of Arab peoples.”The summit is being held in dangerous conditions and in light of big challenges surrounding Arab nations, we need a responsible stance to stand against initiatives and proposals which are being imposed on the region,” he said.Yemen, however, welcomes initiatives that “realize comprehensive reform to contribute in improving and modernizing political, social and cultural systems that meet hopes of peoples of the region,” he said.Saleh said the Yemeni unification was one of main reforms in the Arab contemporary history and that the Republic of Yemen is based on democracy, multiparty and public participation in governance.He pointed out that the honest dialogue would achieve a joint vision that serves national interests and face challenges surrounding the Arab nation.Feeling its moral obligations toward the unity of the Arab nations, Yemen offered its own initiative for overhauling the Arab League by creating a unified stance among the Arab states and setting up a EU-style Arab Union, President Saleh said.”We have originally confirmed that the plan was a Yemeni contribution to the reform of the alignment between the Arab States. We left it to the Arab Governments to make use of what is practical and consider what seems unpractical now.”Saleh laid stress on making a new “turning-point of this summit.”The summit must witness readiness of each Arab state to place the pan-Arab interests in the same level of significance of its domestic interests,” he elaborated.Saleh said that the cynical distrusts between the Arab states have always barred the realization of the peoples’ aspirations for solidarity and unity, Ba-Jammal believes. He expressed Yemen’s appreciation for many countries which welcomed the initiative.Turning focus on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, President Saleh said “the ruthless Israeli state-sponsored terrorism against the Palestinian people is a grave challenge to the Arab Ummah, (Nation) and the international resolutions.”The President deplored the “humiliating Arab impotence and suspicion-arousing international inadvertent of the Israeli atrocities of murdering Palestinians and bulldozing their homes.”He blamed Israel for not accepting the Arab Peace Initiative which was tailored in harmony with the international resolutions to ensure a comprehensive and fair peace. “Israel rejected the initiative despite the international community’s welcoming of that plan.””Therefore, this summit that sticks firmly to the Arab Peace Initiative, must offer material and morale support to the Palestinian people in order to promote their struggle to regain their rights and create their viable state with Jerusalem as its capital,” he said.Perhaps the simplest forms of material support for the Palestinians should be exempting the Palestinian exports to the Arab markets from customs and taxes as Yemen does, he noted.” Resistance of occupation is a legitimate right and can never be dubbed terrorism.”He added: “We have to coordinate with other friendly countries to take strict stance against countries and organizations that support Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and exercise pressure on Israel to dismantle its apartheid separation barrier and comply with the Roadmap for Peace and other U.N. resolutions regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict and get international forces dispatched for the protection of the Palestinians and ending the Israeli occupation in Palestine, south of Lebanon and the (Syrian) Golan heights.He also said that peace in the region warrants, as a priority, disarming Israel from the Weapons of Mass Destruction which pose a threat to the stability and security of the region.”It is regretful that efforts of the Arab states failed to prevent the invasion and occupation of Iraq which has now developed to a traumatic situation. So what concerns us now is how to support the Iraqi people to regain their sovereignty and maintain the unity of their territories.”As for terrorism, he said it has no specific religion or civilization. “Terrorists, whoever they are, must be confronted and a relevant strategy must be laid down to “uproot the causes of this destructive scourge.” “From our vantage point, we found that force is not the single medium for preventing this threat. There are other successful force-free approaches against it.” He concluded saying: “We absolutely reject any attempts of Islamizing terror or dubbing legitimate resistance as “terror”. AA/ AH/KMSABA