The covenant: key notes

31 January 2003
Crown Prince Abdullah is to present his covenant to the Arab peoples at the March Arab League summit in Bahrain. A draft of the document - entitled Covenant for Rectifying the Arab Situation- was published by London-based Asharq Al-Awsat in mid-January. The following extracts are based on an unofficial translation of the Asharq al-Awsat text.

On the reasons for the covenant:

Having observed a silence that has lasted too long, allowing some people to easily attack the Arab nation, the Arab kings and presidents think it is high time to stir up the nation.

The kings and presidents call for a new covenant that ensures the protection of the Arab nation's legitimate interests and the achievement of its just demands.

On the Arab-Israeli conflict:

The Arab kings and presidents pledge to their peoples to work with determination to ensure the Arab countries' sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity, and they further assert their preparedness to support the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian people in the face of Israeli oppression.

They declare their determination to implement the Arab peace initiative, since it represents a clear path towards achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region.

On internal Arab reform:

The Arab kings and presidents recognise that self-reform and developing political participation inside Arab countries provide the conditions for a comprehensive Arab awakening that will allow positive international engagement and sustainable development.

On foreign aggression to the Arabs:

The Arab kings and presidents express their absolute rejection of any illegitimate foreign aggression against any Arab country; their commitment to resolving all Arab differences peacefully; their prohibition against using force between Arab countries; and their united stand against any Arab country that attacks another.

On the economy:

What the Arab countries have done so far on the level of economic co-operation among themselves lacks credibility. This requires us to complete the implementation of the greater Arab free trade area by the end of 2005 and set up a customs union, within a period that does not exceed 10 years, as a prelude to the establishment of an Arab common market.

Since economic co-operation among Arab countries must be built on solid economic foundations, it is necessary to support and encourage the private sector through providing the appropriate climate to promote private ventures and attract Arab and international capital.

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