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Arab peacekeeping troops discussed in Libya summit
Published in Daily News Egypt on 25 - 01 - 2007


Consultations held over regional issues
CAIRO: The idea of sending peace keeping troops to Darfur and Sudan was on the agenda of the Libya-hosted summit which brought together the leaders of Egypt, Algeria and Libya, analysts have said.
"Questions were asked and points of view exchanged in the summit over the possibility of sending Arab peace keeping troops to Darfur and Somalia, Hassan Abu Taleb, head of the international relations unit at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies told The Daily Star Egypt.
He added: "Discussion centered on in case this was to be done, under what conditions are the troops to be sent? And would it be under the umbrella of a UN peacekeeping force or an African Union one? And would there also be attempts to broker agreements to cease the fighting?
Libya hosted a summit with other Arab-African leaders on Tuesday to discuss regional issues, mainly Sudan and Palestine. The meeting precedes by days a wider African Union summit in Addis Ababa and also precedes an Arab summit to be held in Riyadh in March.
President Hosni Mubarak told the Mena news agency "I am going to participate in the limited summit of five heads of states. Mubarak added that the summit was a Libyan initiative by Moemmer Qaddafi to explore the issues of the surrounding region.
Abu Taleb said "Arab countries have a right to meet to discuss regional issues. These meetings have a limited aim, which is to share opinions. Egypt is interested in the regional issues, whether in Iraq, Palestine or Somalia.
He added that "Egypt wants to bring a comprehensive solution for Palestine to the agenda, so of course it will discuss this with its neighbours. This is especially paramount in light of a recent belief that the US is looking for an Arab initiative on Palestine.
Ahmed Thabet, professor of political science at Cairo University, had previously told The Daily Star Egypt that "This summit will center on consultation, because the countries involved have not contributed effectively to the handling of any of the problems.
Thabet added that Libya's diplomatic efforts in Africa had come to no avail and that "Egypt has rescinded its role in the African continent, and that is due to the current regime. It can no longer do anything more than hold talks and attempt to mediate.


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