In Cairo, the members of the Arab League Council have failed to persuade Portugal not to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel.
LV PAN EXT Arab League building in Cairo with flags outside
SV Arab League assistant secretary general Sayed Nuffel (nearest) and Arab ambassador enter conference room
SV Secretary general of Arab League Mahmoud Raid enters
SV Raid shakes hands with ambassador and sits
GV Members seated around table
CU PAN FROM Plaque in front of Libyan ambassador (wearing glasses) sitting next to Egyptian representative Tahssin Beshir, PAN ACROSS other delegates to Riad at head of table
SV PAN OVER all delegates seated
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Background: In Cairo, the members of the Arab League Council have failed to persuade Portugal not to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. They also discussed the clashes between Egypt and Libya, which have dealt the most serious blow for years to pan-Arab relationships.
SYNOPSIS: Meeting at the League's headquarters, members first discussed the decision by Portugal to exchange ambassadors with Israel. Until now the Portuguese have represented important non-Arab support in their attempts to isolate Israel. But despite the League's opposition, Portugal has refused to revoke its decision.
Mahmoud Raid, the league's secretary general, led the discussion of the recent fighting between Libya and Egypt. Earlier he had described the clashes as a 'setback to Arab solidarity' and urged both sides to exercise self control.
The League's meeting on Monday took place against a background of growing unrest in Egypt. Following riots in January prices have been rising at an annual rate of 25 per cent in urban areas. A right-wing group has carried out bombings and kidnapped a former government minister earlier this month.