24 February 2003
Iraq is asking the Arab League to postpone its scheduled March 1 summit for two weeks to give Baghdad more time to show it is cooperating with U.N. weapons inspectors. But it appears the summit will be held as scheduled.
Sources with the Arab League Monday acknowledged receiving Baghdad's request to postpone its scheduled summit until March 14. But the sources say the League intends to move forward with its plan to hold the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, beginning this Saturday.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said Monday Baghdad needs every hour and every day to provide "accurate and comprehensive" answers to questions being raised by U.N. weapons inspectors. Mr. Sabri described this period of time as being "delicate."
On Monday, chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix is expected to present a list of questions to Iraqi officials regarding some 30 unresolved disarmament issues.
The Arab League had already moved up its scheduled summit from late March to March first, and changed the venue from Bahrain to Egypt. Arab League sources believe Iraq requested the postponement in anticipation of a possible Arab League resolution calling on it to cooperate with the weapons inspectors and destroy any weapons of mass destruction.