The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Mr. Mahmoud Riad, and the Vice-President of Egypt, Mr.?
The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Mr. Mahmoud Riad, and the Vice-President of Egypt, Mr. Husni El-Mubarak, both paid visits to Damascus on Wednesday (30 April).
Mr. Riad held discussions with the Syrian Foreign Minister, Mr. Abdul Halim Khaddam, on the dispute between Syria and Iraq over the sharing of water from the Euphrates River. He was to leave later for Iraq to discuss the same subject -- but in the meantime on Thursday (1 May) Syria withdraw from an Arab League meeting in Cairo on the dispute because of what it called" continued Iraqi campaigns against Syria."
Iraq accused Syria last month off hoarding Euphrates water and jeopardising the livelihood of 3,000,000 Iraqi farmers who use it. (The river rises in Turkey and flows through Syria and Iraq to join up with the River Tigris and flow out into the Gulf.)
The Syrian delegation to the Cairo meeting has been instructed to take no further part in it and to circulate a statement on its position to all Arab League members.
Mr. Mubarak's five-hour visit, during which he was received by President Assad, came as a surprise, and no reason was given for it. But observers in Damascus noted that Mr. Mubarak was the co-chairman of a joint Egyptian Syrian co-ordination committee set up at last week's Arab mini-summit in Riyadh, to consider all issues related to the Arab conflict with Israel.