Arab summit, 2001

Text of final statement from the Arab summit in Amman, 27-28 March, 2001

Final statement issued by the Arab League Council at the summit level; ordinary session No. 13 in Amman, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on 2 and 3 Muharram 1422 Hegira, corresponding to 27 and 28 March 2001:

1. In response to a kind invitation by His Majesty King Abdallah II Bin-al-Husayn, king of the Hasehmite Kingdom of Jordan, and in implementation of a resolution adopted by the extraordinary Arab summit conference in Cairo on 21 and 22 October 2000 to convene the Arab League Council regularly at the summit level in an ordinary session in March every year, as of the year 2001, the Council met at the summit level in Amman, the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on 27 and 28 March 2001.

2. The leaders express their great appreciation to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for its care and attention and good preparation for the summit and the deep meanings contained in the opening speech by His Majesty King Abdallah II Bin-al-Husayn, president of the conference. The leaders decided to consider the speech an official summit document.

3. The leaders also express their profound thanks to His Excellency President Muhammad Husni Mubarak, president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, for the valuable efforts he exerted during his chairmanship of the extraordinary summit in October 2000.

4. The Arab leaders believe that their meeting today in Amman, in the first regular conference, constitutes a new beginning in joint Arab action, which makes it possible to adopt resolutions and initiatives required by the Arab situation and address the nation's vital issues. In line with this perspective, the leaders were unanimous in noting that restoring Arab solidarity is the basic pillar and a source of the nation's strength to safeguard its security, ward off dangers, and embody the hopes and aspirations of its sons through integration and solidarity. This conference is also a milestone and an occasion to renew the pledge to abide by the constants and foundations of joint Arab action, respect the rules that govern inter-Arab relations, and safeguard the vital interests of Arab countries within the context of achieving Arab accord and pan-Arab security.

5. Based on the Arab League Charter and its goals and in an atmosphere of understanding, brotherhood, and frankness, the leaders studied the state of the nation and the challenges facing it, as well as the situation in the region, and made a comprehensive assessment of the regional and international circumstances. In doing this, the leaders focused on strengthening Arab solidarity, activating the institutions of joint Arab action, defending the nation's interests and rights, and safeguarding Arab national security.

6. In this context, the leaders examined the serious situation experienced by the Palestinian people as a result of the large-scale aggression, which the Israeli forces are waging against them, employing all means of repression and all types of weapons, including the internationally banned ones. This is in addition to tightening the economic siege and continuing the settlement activity and the policy of assassinations, demolition of homes, and destruction of the environment in a flagrant violation of agreements and obligations as well as international law, norms, and pacts.

7. The leaders hail with great pride the Palestinian people's steadfastness and brave intifadah in the face of the savage onslaught waged by Israel and the brutal oppression exercised by the occupation authorities. They salute the brave martyrs of the intifadah and praise the spirit of sacrifice and steadfastness shown by the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people have managed through their national leadership, relentless determination, and limitless sacrifice, to confront Israel's repressive measures and abort the de facto policy, through which the occupation authorities have tried to impose their unfair terms on the Palestinian people and negotiator by force. The leaders declare that they stand by the Palestinian people in their heroic struggle and support their brave intifadah and legitimate right to resist occupation until they achieve their just national demands, represented by their right to return, self-determination, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

8. The Arab leaders also hail the steadfastness of the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Arab Golan Heights and their adherence to their national identity.

9. The leaders condemn Israel's continuing aggression against the Palestinian people. They also condemn Israel's massive violation of human rights, especially its collective punishment, its dismembering of the Palestinian territories, and its continued attacks on vital Palestinian installations and national institutions, which constitute war crimes as well as crimes against humanity and racist practices.

All these represent a serious violation of the rules of international humanitarian law and should be confronted. As a result of all of this, these Zionist practices are still considered a form of racism. The leaders also call for a meeting of the parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention as soon as possible to adopt measures to protect the Palestinian civilians.

10. The leaders express their extreme indignation at the US use of the veto against a draft resolution at the Security Council on protecting the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories and establishing a UN observer force in these territories. They express their absolute rejection of the US justifications. This position does not at all conform with the US responsibility as a sponsor of the peace process and a permanent member of the Security Council that bears special responsibility toward safeguarding world peace and security.

11. The leaders reiterate their demand that the Security Council should assume responsibility for providing the necessary international protection for the Palestinian people under the Israeli occupation, and for forming an international force for this purpose. They ask the Security Council member states, especially the permanent ones, to take the necessary measures to implement this.

12. The leaders call on the Security Council to try the Israeli war criminals who committed massacres and crimes against Arab citizens inside and outside all the occupied territories, especially in light of what was contained in the report submitted by Mrs. Mary Robinson, the UN high commissioner on human rights.

13. The leaders welcome the decision of the higher board of Al-Aqsa Fund and the Jerusalem Intifadah Fund to urgently support the budget of the Palestinian National Authority by disbursing $15 million of the approved $60-million soft loan, based on a proposal by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Considering the difficult financial and economic conditions experienced by the Palestinian people, the leaders commission the higher board of the two funds to respond favorably to the PNA request to disburse the additional required sum of $180 million to support the Authority's budget over the next six months.

The leaders also welcome Iraq's decision to allocate 1 billion euros of its oil export sales in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding to meet the Palestinian people's food, medicine, and other basic needs, and support the families of the intifadah martyrs. This responds to a pan-Arab demand to support the Palestinian people's steadfastness and their blessed intifadah. They request the Arab permanent UN representatives to follow up on this subject and facilitate the Iraqi request at the UN Security Council.

14. The leaders reaffirm their adherence to Security Council resolutions concerning the City of Jerusalem, especially Resolutions 252 (1968), 267 (1969), 465 (1980), and 478 (1980), which consider null and void all Israeli measures to change the features of this city, and call on world countries not to transfer their embassies to Jerusalem. In this respect, the leaders renew their emphasis on the resolutions adopted by the 1980 Arab summit in Amman, the 1990 summit in Baghdad, and the 2000 summit in Cairo, which call for severing all ties with states that transfer their embassies to Jerusalem or recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

15. The leaders reaffirm their adherence to a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on international legitimacy resolutions and the land-for-peace principle in a manner that ensures the legitimate Arab rights and realizes security and stability in the region.

16. The Arab leaders warn of the consequences of the Israeli Government's disavowal of the bases and principles on which the peace process was launched in Madrid in 1991. They also warn of the consequences of circumventing these principles or suggesting alternatives that do not respond to the rules of international legitimacy. They stress the inseparability of the Syrian and Lebanese tracks and their connection with the Palestinian track in order to realize the Arab aims of activating all tracks. They warn against the Israeli practices aimed at dealing with individual tracks separate from the others. They call for Arab coordination and reiterate that the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace in the region requires first and foremost full Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, and from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights up to the 4 June 1967 line, and the remaining parts of southern Lebanon that are still under occupation, including the Shab'a farms, up to the internationally recognized borders. This should be done in implementation of the relevant UN resolutions -- 242, 338, 425 -- and the land-for-peace principle. The Palestinian people should be enabled to regain their national inalienable rights, including their right to return to their homes, get compensation for the losses they had sustained as a result of the Israeli occupation in accordance with UN Resolution 194, and establish their independent state on their national soil with Jerusalem as its capital. All Arab prisoners in Israeli jails should also be released.

17. The leaders note that Israel bears full legal responsibility for the problem of the Palestinian refugees and for their displacement. They reiterate their rejection of all plans and attempts to resettle these refugees outside their homeland. They also demand that Israel compensate the host Arab countries for the financial losses they sustained as a result of hosting these refugees on behalf of the international community.

18. The leaders decide to continue the Arab states' boycott of the multilateral talks and to suspend all steps and activities on regional economic cooperation with Israel, holding it responsible for the steps and measures that have been taken by the Arab states against it. These steps are necessitated by the suspension of the peace process and the Israeli occupation authorities' escalation of their repressive measures and siege against the Palestinian people. The leaders reaffirm their decision at the extraordinary Cairo summit in 2000 to firmly confront Israel's attempts to infiltrate the Arab world under any slogan and to stop establishing any relations with it. They hold Israel responsible for any steps or decisions by the Arab states regarding relations with it, including the cancellation of these relations. They also demand the activation of the Arab boycott of Israel by holding periodic boycott meetings as called for by the Central Office of the Boycott [in Damascus] with the aim of preventing any dealings with Israel in implementation of the boycott regulations.

19. The leaders also emphasize their full solidarity with Syria and Lebanon and reject recent Israeli threats against the two sisterly states, as well as the Israeli officials' serious threats to other Arab states and the Palestinian people and their leadership. They condemn the threat to use force and stress the need to discuss the dangers posed by these threats, as well Israel's return to its racist policy. They also call for a clear Arab strategy to expose the Israeli schemes, which do not serve peace and which threaten security and stability in the region. They also reject Israel's attempts to brand as terrorist the Arab states that carry out the duty of legitimate national resistance against the Israeli occupation of their territories.

20. The leaders emphasize their support for Lebanon to complete the liberation of its territory from the Israeli occupation up to the internationally recognized borders, including Shab'a farms. They praise the role of the valiant Lebanese resistance and the splendid Lebanese steadfastness that forced the Israeli forces to withdraw from Southern Lebanon and western Al-Biqa. They also demand the release of Lebanese prisoners and detainees held in Israeli jails. They support the right of Lebanon and its resistance to free these prisoners with all legitimate means. They also support Lebanon's demand to clear the mines left behind by the Israeli occupation. Israel planted them and, therefore, should clear them. In this respect, they praise the UAE's adoption of a plan to remove the mines in South Lebanon. The leaders also support Lebanon's firm rights to its water, as stipulated by international law, against the Israeli designs.

They reaffirm the resolutions of the 10th, 11th, and 12th Arab summits on the need to support the Lebanese Government and assist it to rebuild Lebanon. They praise the assistance the Arab countries have offered to Lebanon, and the countries that expressed readiness to offer such assistance, particularly to the liberated areas. They call for reactivating the fund for supporting Lebanon to help it rebuild and develop its infrastructure, particularly in the areas that were liberated from the Israeli occupation.

21. The leaders stress that the achievement of a lasting peace and security in the region requires Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and open all Israeli nuclear facilities to the international inspection and monitoring regime. They also stressed the extreme importance of keeping the Middle East free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, given that this is a basic condition for any future regional security arrangements.

22. The leaders reaffirm that commitment to the peace process demands that Israel implement the agreements and fulfill the obligations that have been reached, build on what has been achieved, and resume the negotiations on all tracks from where they stopped in accordance with the terms of reference and the principles on which the peace process was launched. [The two sponsors of the peace process, especially the United States, must assume] their responsibilities and obligations toward the peace process on the basis of justice and neutrality.

[above words in brackets are dropped from press version; they are provided from the final statement as distributed to reporters at conclusion of summit]

23. The leaders also urge all the states that are concerned with the peace process, headed by the EU states, to play an active role in order to overcome the obstacles facing the peace process in the Middle East.

24. The Arab leaders believe that the United Nations, which has been entrusted with the task of preserving international security and peace in its capacity as the source of international legitimacy, is called upon to play a more effective role in implementing its resolutions on the Middle East question.

25. The leaders have decided to entrust His Majesty King Abdallah II Bin-al-Husayn, president of the summit, with the task of holding consultations with his brother Arab leaders and the Arab League secretary general, and making the necessary contacts to pursue discussion of the situation between Iraq and Kuwait in order to achieve Arab solidarity.

26. The Arab leaders congratulate the brotherly peoples of Bahrain and Qatar and their wise leaders on the resolution of the border dispute between the two countries and praise the good brotherly spirit with which they received the ruling of the International Court of Justice on this subject. They consider this important accomplishment will contribute to strengthening their brotherly relations and common interests and enhancing Arab solidarity and security and stability in the region.

27. The leaders also congratulate the brotherly people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Qatar and their wise leaders on the demarcation of the borders between the two countries in a manner that would contribute to strengthening the fraternal ties between them and enhancing Arab solidarity.

28. The Arab leaders reaffirm the UAE's sovereignty over the three islands of Tunb al-Kubra, Tunb al-Sughra, and Abu-Musa and their support for all the steps and means it is pursuing to regain its sovereignty over its three Arab islands. They call on Iran to end its occupation of the three Arab islands and stop the policy of imposing a status quo by force on these islands, including the establishment of facilities to settle Iranians on these islands. They call on Iran to pursue peaceful means to resolve the existing dispute over the islands in accordance with the principles and rules of international law, including an agreement to refer the dispute to the International Court of Justice. The leaders regret Iran's refusal to respond to the efforts of the three-way committee that was entrusted by the Gulf Cooperation Council to formulate a mechanism for the initiation of direct negotiations between the UAE and the Islamic Republic of Iran to end the Iranian occupation of the three Arab islands. The leaders task the Arab League secretary general to follow up the issue of the Iranian occupation of the UAE islands and submit a report on this issue to the next Arab summit.

29. The leaders also renew their support for and solidarity with the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah in requesting the Security Council to lift the sanctions imposed on it immediately and completely, as they are no longer justified under any pretext. The Arabs will consider themselves free from any commitment to these sanctions should they continue to be imposed, especially since the Jamahiriyah has fulfilled all its obligations as stipulated in the relevant Council resolutions. The leaders express their support for the Jamahiriyah in obtaining compensation for the human and material losses it has sustained as a result of the sanctions imposed on it. The leaders call for the immediate release of Libyan citizen Abd-al-Basit al-Miqrahi, who was convicted for political reasons that have nothing to do with the law. In accordance with all relevant laws and norms, he will be considered hostage if he remains in custody.

30. The leaders welcome the efforts by the interim government in Somalia to continue the general reconciliation and achieve national unity and restore security and stability to the country. They decide to offer it support to entrench security and stability and reactivate state institutions.

31. The leaders express concern for Sudan's unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. They back the good offices that are being exerted by Egypt and Libya to help achieve national accord in Sudan. They praise the Sudanese Government's efforts to achieve peace and allow relief stuff to reach those harmed. They reiterate their support for the Sudanese Government's call on the UN Security Council to lift the sanctions imposed on it.

32. The leaders express their full concern for the national unity of the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros and the safety of its territorial integrity and national sovereignty. They welcome the national reconciliation efforts that are being exerted by the government of the Republic of the Comoros in cooperation with the Arab League, regional organizations, and the United Nations in order to preserve national unity and achieve general national reconciliation. They decide to extend the necessary support for the Comoros to help the reconstruction effort there. In this context, they praise the Qatari initiative to set up a fund sponsored by the General Secretariat to support the Comoros and the donation of $2 million to this fund by His Highness Shaykh Hamad Bin-Khalifah Al Thani, amir of the State of Qatar.

33. The leaders attach special importance to Arab economic integration. They endorse any steps taken to ensure the activation of this aspect of joint Arab action in a manner that achieves the Arab states' common interests and mutual benefits, strengthens their economic capabilities through the adoption of an Arab plan for a comprehensive and sustainable development, and promotes joint economic action through positive interaction with international economic developments and globalization.

34. The leaders express their appreciation for the efforts being made to set up the Greater Arab Free Trade Area and praise the steps taken thus far toward this end. They decide to immediately eliminate all non-customs administrative, technical, financial, monetary, and volume restrictions and subject all duties and taxes of similar effect to the gradual reduction agreed upon. They also decide to treat the Arab commodities the same as national commodities.

35. The leaders underline the importance of expediting a study on merging the services industry in the Greater Arab Free Trade Area. They also underline the importance of preparation for moving to an advanced stage of Arab economic integration through setting up an Arab customs union. They entrust the Economic and Social Council to follow up on this issue.

36. The leaders bless what has been achieved by the Arab countries in the field of improving the investment climate. They emphasize the importance of giving more incentives to attract investments and encourage the private sector to play a greater role in this field. They call on the Arab financial establishments to co-finance infrastructure and private sector projects. They assign the Economic and Social Council the task of reviewing the unified agreement on investing Arab capital in the Arab countries to activate this agreement in light of the international and Arab developments.

37. Due to the effective role of the transportation sector in all aspects of Arab economic integration and cooperation, the Arab leaders entrust the Economic and Social Council with the task of working in cooperation with all relevant sides to discuss all aspects and dimensions of the problem of transportation and ways to link the Arab countries via land, sea, and air routes and submit their recommendations in this regard to the next regular Arab summit through the foreign ministers of the Arab League Council.

38. Aware of the fact that the communication and information revolution has begun to cross geographical boundaries, the Arab leaders assert the need to accord priority to developing the Arab capabilities in the area of information technology and communications, and to consider this a vital domain for cooperation and coordination on the Arab level. In this regard, the Arab leaders welcome the UAE's offer to host the first session of the Arab Forum of Information Technology.

39. The Arab leaders value the distinguished role of joint Arab action in investments and integration in the field of electric power. They assert that the vital contribution of this sector requires that the agencies in charge of electricity chart a specific plan to boost electric power and expedite the completion of Arab electric power linkage.

40. In view of the relatively growing importance of the tourism sector on the Arab level and the competition this sector is facing on the international level, the leaders underscore the need for all the agencies and bodies concerned with inter-Arab tourist activities and development of tourism to spur inter-Arab tourism and attract more foreign tourists to the Arab region by supporting investments in this sector and promoting transportation services in the Arab states and facilitating entry into the Arab states.

41. The Arab leaders value the results of joint Arab action in the field of environment and sustainable development and coordination in the international arenas. They express their support for the Abu Dhabi Declaration on the future of Arab environmental action in this field and consider it as a working mechanism in the 21st century. They stress the importance of Arab consultation and coordination for the Earth Summit in 2002. The leaders also welcome the convocation of the seventh session of the conference of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakech from 29 October to 9 November 2001.

42. The leaders welcome the initiative of the Arab Republic of Egypt to convene the first economic conference in Cairo in November 2001 with the participation of Arab governments, the Arab and foreign private sectors, and regional and international economic establishments. The Arab League secretary general will be entrusted with taking the necessary steps in cooperation with the host countries to ensure the success of the conference.

43. In light of the increasing tasks of the technical team at the General Secretariat, they entrust the secretary general with supporting and developing this team, in cooperation with the Economic and Social Council, in order to activate the mechanisms and Arab establishments in charge of following up joint Arab action. The Economic and Social Council, in collaboration with the organizations and establishments of Arab action, will be in charge of preparing and presenting economic topics to the Arab League's Foreign Ministers' Council prior to referring them to the summit.

44. Having reviewed relations with the neighboring countries, the leaders stress the importance of strengthening the ties of cooperation with these countries, especially Iran and Turkey, which are bound with the Arab homeland by historical and cultural relations and common interests. The leaders consider the water issue in its legal, economic, and security dimensions as extremely vital to the Arab nation. Therefore, they call on Turkey to enter into tripartite talks with Iraq and Syria in accordance with the rules of international law and the treaties concluded between them in order to reach a fair and equitable agreement on the distribution of water that guarantees the rights of the three countries.

45. Proceeding from the historical and cultural links and the common interests that unite our Arab nation with the countries of the African continent, the leaders paid attention to the subject of Afro-Arab cooperation. They examined its different aspects and stressed the need to continue efforts to promote this cooperation and remove any obstacles that hamper meetings or obstruct the implementation of joint programs. They entrusted the secretary general of the Arab League with the task of resuming his contacts in this connection with his counterpart, the OAU secretary general. In this respect, they welcome Algeria's offer to host a meeting of the Standing Committee on Arab-African Cooperation.

46. The leaders believe in the importance of developing Arab-European relations, including the revival of the Arab-European dialogue and promoting these ties in a manner that achieves balanced and equitable interests.

47. The leaders discussed the affairs of Arab expatriates, particularly in the two Americas and Europe. They welcomed the growing role of Arab communities and the remarkable interaction with the nation's causes being demonstrated by Arab and Muslim associations. They expressed their eagerness to accord full attention to the conditions of Arab expatriates, care for their interests and concerns, and promote their affiliation with the motherland.

48. The leaders extend their thanks and appreciation to His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Ismat Abd-al-Majid for his management of issues pertaining to joint Arab action during his term as Arab League secretary general with great efficiency and competence. Thanks to his great expertise and political shrewdness, he contributed to maintaining harmony and accord between Arab League members. He also contributed to the effort to foster new values and foundations for restoring Arab solidarity and promoting the performance of joint Arab action under circumstances marked by Arab and international upheavals.

49. The leaders were unanimous in their choice of Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa as new Arab League secretary general. They noted his diplomatic acumen and high competence, which qualify him to manage joint Arab action at the helm of the Arab League General Secretariat at this stage. They wished him success in his new job.

50. To enable the Arab League to shoulder its responsibilities, perform its tasks, and implement its programs and activities, the leaders have assigned the Arab League secretary general the task of taking the necessary steps and proposing the appropriate formulas to reform the Arab League General Secretariat financially, administratively, and organizationally with a view to restructuring it, upgrading its procedures and performance, and enabling it to shoulder its pan-Arab tasks and catch up with the latest developments on the regional and international levels.

In this regard, they welcome all the proposals submitted by member states, including the paper submitted by the State of Qatar and the proposal submitted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

51. The leaders express their thanks to the chairman and members of the Follow-up and Action Committee formed by the recent Cairo summit for the efforts they exerted in implementing the summit resolutions. They stress the importance of this committee as an essential work mechanism for following up on the implementation of summit resolutions and taking action on the regional and international levels. They approve the continuation of its work. The summit presidency shall consult with the Arab leaders on its formation. The committee shall meet once every two months on the ministerial level and once every month on the level of permanent representatives or personal representatives of the ministers at the Arab League Headquarters or in any member state that requests hosting its work.

52. Based on the mechanism of the regular convocation of the Arab League Council on the summit level, and in accordance with an agreement reached between the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon on exchanging their presidency of the summit, the leaders decided to hold the 14th ordinary session of the Arab League Council on the summit level in Beirut, capital of the Lebanese Republic, in March 2002. The State of Bahrain will assume the presidency of the Arab League Council on the summit level at the 15th session in accordance with the alphabetical order of the names of the member states.

The leaders also express their profound gratitude and best wishes to the brotherly Jordanian people for the good hospitality and warm reception, which they accorded to the delegations participating in the Arab summit. They also express their great appreciation to His Majesty King Abdallah II Bin-al-Husayn for the big efforts he exerted to ensure the success of the summit conference and also for the good preparation and organization. They praise the wisdom, perseverance, and competence with which his majesty ran the working sessions, which have had a great effect on the success of the summit and the important results that crowned the summit meetings -- results which would help strengthen the course of joint action, achieve the higher interests of the Arab nation, and help safeguard Arab national security.

  • FBIS translation of Arabic text published in al-Ra'y newspaper, Jordan, 29 March 2001, p 33