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Arab League chief hopes to end row with Kuwait

Amr Moussa speaks to the Egyptian press in Cairo last week after Saddam Hussein's capture.
Amr Moussa speaks to the Egyptian press in Cairo last week after Saddam Hussein's capture.

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Conflicts (general)

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait (Reuters) -- Arab League chief Amr Moussa, embarking on his first official visit to Kuwait since the Iraq war, said in remarks published on Saturday he hopes to achieve reconciliation with the Gulf Arab state.

"I have big hopes that this page will be turned, for the interest of our common work and to support common Arab work," Moussa was quoted by Kuwait news agency KUNA as telling reporters in Cairo, Egypt, before flying to Kuwait City.

Adding that reports of his row with Kuwait have been blown out of proportion, he said, "It's a summer cloud."

Moussa, one of the fiercest opponents of the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein, was accused by Kuwait in the run-up to the war of showing bias towards Iraq.

Kuwait's foreign minister said Moussa had offended the oil-rich country, which was freed from Iraqi occupation by a U.S.-led coalition in 1991, and a Kuwaiti parliamentarian had said Moussa had "sold" himself to Saddam.

Moussa had accepted an invitation from Kuwait to attend a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, to be held in Kuwait on Sunday and Monday.

An Arab League spokesman has said it would be the first time a League chief attends a summit of the six-country group, comprised of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

According to some analysts, Kuwait had been angered by Arab League statements calling on countries to deny Washington assistance in the war, a touchy subject for Gulf states such as Kuwait, which was used as a launch pad for the war on Iraq.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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