The Arab League Council met in Cairo in an emergency session on Thursday (16 March) to discuss Israel's invasion of Southern Lebanon.
The Arab League Council met in Cairo in an emergency session on Thursday (16 March) to discuss Israel's invasion of Southern Lebanon. The meeting at ambassadorial level, took place at the request of the League's Secretary General, Mahmoud Riad. On Wednesday, Mr Riad had sent a message to the United Nations Secretary-General, Dr Kurt Waldheim, demanding immediate action by the United Nations to end Israel's invasion. He said the attack on Lebanon and Israel's occupation of more Arab land threatened peace in the Middle East.
SYNOPSIS: The representatives who attended the meeting considered not only the request to Mr Waldheim, but also voted to call for an early summit of Arab leaders to plan strategy in the wake of the Israeli invasion.
The delegate from the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Organisation was amongst delegates at the meeting the first since President Sadat's visit to Jerusalem in November. Although the meeting was called at short notice, most of the League's members attended, with the exception of Iraq, Algeria, South Yemen and Djibouti. After the delegates assembled, the meeting went into closed session.
According to Reuters News agency, Mr Riad told the ambassadors he was making available all Arab League resources for "collective and effective" Arab action to achieve Israeli withdrawal. He said messages had been sent to all Arab heads of state calling on them to adopt a joint stand and to exert all their efforts on foreign countries, particularly the Soviet Union and the United States, to end what he called the "Israeli aggression."
Later, Mr Riad said the Israeli action was aimed at the "annihilation of the Palestinian people who were expelled by Israel from their land and forced to take refuge in Lebanon". He said Israel's action was aimed at expansion....a plan, he said, which had been devised by the Israelis from the very beginning. They succeeded in 1967, Mr Riad said, by attacking Jordan Syria and Egypt, and added more territories. After that, they had nowhere else left to expand, except in Lebanon. Mr Riad told newsmen that, in his opinion, the Israelis planned to stay in Lebanon indefinitely, and would not withdraw without strong world pressure.