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Arab summit rejects any attack on Iraq

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- The Arab League summit's final declaration Thursday rejects any attack on Iraq.

"We reject the threat of attacking Arab countries, especially Iraq. We reaffirm our complete rejection of any attack on Iraq," the declaration says. "And we affirm our rejection of any security threat on any Arab country, and we consider it a security threat to the Arab states as a whole."

The statement goes on to say, "We demand the respect of Iraq's independence, sovereignty, security and unity."

In addition, it calls for "the lifting of the sanctions on Iraq, ending the punishment of the Iraqi people."

The adoption of the final statement came after Iraqi presidential envoy Izzat Ibrahim told the summit that Iraq recognizes the sovereignty of Kuwait and will never invade that nation again.

At one point during the session, Ibrahim embraced Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and greeted the head of the Kuwaiti delegation.

"We welcome the representative of Iraq's guarantees/assurances that it respects the independence, sovereignty and security of the state of Kuwait," said the final statement.

Kuwait Foreign Minister Mohammed al Sabah said, "Iraq has been in state of denial for the past 12 years. There was no remorse whatsoever for what they have done 12 years ago. Now just actually less than 24 hours ago, they said that, 'Well, we are not going to repeat that.'"

Sabah said it remained to be seen whether Iraq would free the Kuwaiti prisoners it is holding and adhere to United Nations Security Council resolutions.

"The current regime is the regime that committed the crime against my country," said Sabah. "The current leader, Saddam Hussein, is the one who committed this atrocious atrocity against my country. I cannot say with full conscience that Kuwaitis will be sad if they see a change in regime in Baghdad."

But he acknowledged that the summit members will not accept an attack against any Arab country, including Iraq.

"We have discussed that there are certain threats to a number of our countries ... and we said we are not going to accept any military action against any other country, including Iraq."




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