Arab League secretary-general presses for forum with neighboring countries

Secretary General for the Arab League Amr Moussa has urged Arab states to present proposals for his controversial plan to create a forum that will include neighboring countries, Arab diplomats said.

Gulf states have expressed their reservations about the plan–initially presented at the last Arab Summit in Libya–which Moussa suggested should include Iran.

The plan will be examined again in the upcoming Arab Summit on 8 October in Tripoli. 

The Arab Neighboring States Policy proposed by Moussa intends to include Arab League states as well as their Asian, African and European neighbors in order to bolster cooperation and understanding.

Moussa suggested Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, Iran and some African countries be part of the forum.

However, the same sources said Gulf states are opposed to dialogue with Iran at this point and suggested focusing on Turkey as a priority. The sources also said that the latest sectarian tensions in Bahrain and Kuwait and the Iranian nuclear program have made Gulf states all the more wary of Iran, which they fear may foment unrest to their advantage.

While Egypt supports the exclusion of Iran from the forum, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon are more inclined to welcome Iran over Turkey.

Moussa did not give any final details about the proposal, nor did he suggest a mechanism for its implementation.


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