Top Arab Leaders Caution Israel on Peace Agreements Summit in Cairo Planned as Show of Unity

Article excerpt

Leaders of Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia announced plans Saturday to convene an Arab summit, the first to take place in six years, and warned against any Israeli retreat from past commitments to peace.

The leaders declared that neglect by Israel of the quest toward peace with its Arab neighbors "will put Israel in confrontation with the international community, representing a genuine threat of returning the region to the cycle of violence and instability, and Israel will be completely responsible for this."

The large-scale meeting of Arab leaders, to be held in Cairo, Egypt, June 21-23, would be the first since shortly after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The support voiced for the session underscored the depth of Arab apprehensions about Israel's new course following the recent elections.

Arab diplomats have made plain their hope that a show of renewed Arab unity can serve as a counterweight to Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his apparent inclination at least to slow the pace of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

The call for an Arab summit came at the end of a two-day meeting of President Hafez al-Assad of Syria, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. It was the third meeting convened by Arab leaders this week to show unity following the Israeli elections.

In elaborating on the decision, Foreign Minister Amr Moussa of Egypt pointed to what he called disturbing new signals from Netanyahu, and he said it was important that the Arab countries gather to demonstrate strength and solidarity in even greater numbers. …