Arab League Summit Adjourns With Little Action Taken

A summit of Arab leaders limped to a close Wednesday without offering strong action on key issues — violence in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari castigated Arab countries in a speech to the final session, urging them to do more to help his violence-torn country.

He accused Iraq's Arab neighbors of "targeting Iraq since the fall of (Saddam Hussein's) dictatorship and failing to protect Iraq's border against terrorists."

A resolution passed by the summit promises to help rebuild Iraq and calls for Arab states to send ambassadors to Baghdad — a longtime demand of the new Iraqi government.

But the resolution set no timetable for the move, and Zebari dismissed it as "rhetoric" in closed-door meetings.

The only issue that appeared to galvanize the summit, during which the head of the Arab League called on Arab states to work toward "entering the nuclear club" by developing atomic energy, was the Israeli vote on Tuesday.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and others at the summit called on the election's winner, Ehud Olmert, not to make any unilateral withdrawal moves, and the summit repeated its support of a 2002 Arab League initiative that offers Israel peace with Arab nations in return for a full withdrawal from Arab lands. Israel has repeatedly rejected the initiative.

The summit repeated its plan to provide $55 million a month to the Palestinian Authority, despite Western pressure to close up funding for the Hamas-led government. But most Arab countries have failed to follow through on their pledges since the plan was adopted in 2002, and Wednesday's resolutions contained no language pressing them to pay up.

The final statement also promised Arab help in funding the African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur and an increase in the number of Arab soldiers in the force, but the leaders did not commit themselves to specific figures.

Ten of the Arab League's 22 heads of state didn't attend the two-day gathering, including the leaders of regional powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Egypt.