Kuwait: Arab leader condemns Israeli attacks in Gaza

Kuwait City, 19 Jan. (AKI) - The emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah, opened an Arab summit on Monday with a fierce attack on Israel, condemning its military offensive in the Gaza Strip as a "war crime". "The Israeli attack against Gaza is a war crime condemned by international law," said Sheikh Sabah.

"We support the efforts by (Egyptian) president Hosni Mubarak to reach a ceasefire and we appreciate all the efforts conducted by Arab heads of state to seek an end to the war, and today we will evaluate their proposals to help the Palestinian people."

Arab leaders were meeting on Monday in the oil-rich emirate of Kuwait for a two-day economic summit and to discuss the crisis in the Gaza Strip after three weeks of Israeli attacks.

Sheikh Sabah appealed to Palestinian politicians to seek unity and condemned the divisions between the rival Palestinian political factions, Fatah and Hamas.

A tense ceasefire was in place in Gaza on Monday, a day after Hamas said militants would cease attacks for a week to give Israel time to withdraw its troops.

Also on Monday, a copy of a draft resolution calling for the reconstruction of Gaza through a rehabilitation and construction programme in coordination with the Palestinian Authority was obtained by Kuwait's state news agency KUNA.

The draft resolution also called for providing financial and technical support for the rehabilitation of infrastructure, health services, and improving living standards

Israeli troops began a gradual withdrawal from war-torn Gaza on Monday after a ceasefire announced at the weekend. More than 1,300 Palestinians have died and thousands were injured since the Israeli offensive began on 27 December.

The summit is expected to attract most of the 22 members of the Arab League, who will discuss issues of various infrastructure projects, collapsing oil prices, an Arab common market and the impact of the financial crisis, as well as Gaza.


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