BEIRUT

Middle East

Qatar PM slams 'wasteful' Arab League meetings

Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani attends an emergency meeting of the Arab Foreign ministers in Cairo on November 17, 2012. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD KHALED

CAIRO: Qatar's prime minister on Saturday delivered a biting criticism of Arab League meetings during emergency talks in Cairo, and called for a review of the pan-Arab body's dealing with the Palestinian issue.

"Our meetings have become a waste of money and a waste of time," Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani told Arab foreign ministers gathered to draw up a response to Israel's attack on Gaza.

"We are meeting today and we will issue a statement. The statement will mean nothing," he said.

"The whole situation needs a clear and honest review... We can't keep giving hope without delivering," Sheikh Hamad said.

He said money pledged to the Palestinians after previous Israeli attacks had failed to reach the Palestinians.

"They received nothing... Gaza needs to receive the money we have already pledged."

"They need housing, schools, hospitals. This is what we should be offering them. We have been used to pledging things and not carrying them through," Sheikh Hamad said.

"There must be a clear policy to deal with the situation. It's not the first time Gaza has been attacked... We need a clear plan. This situation has divided the Arab world," he said.

"The peace process is not working, the Quartet (the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia) is not working... We are not declaring war, we want a peaceful process... I'm not talking about war, I know our capabilities... I'm talking about standing by our Palestinian brothers," he said.

At the meeting, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said the bloc should review its peace proposals to Israel and its entire stance on the peace process in response to the conflict in Gaza which has killed 40 Gazans since Wednesday.

 

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