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Iraq: Interim Foreign Minister Takes Part In Arab League Meeting

Cairo, 9 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Iraqi Interim Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari today told Arab League foreign ministers that the new Iraq will be different from the one ruled by Saddam Hussein. Zebari told an Arab League meeting in Cairo that the new Iraq will be based on, "diversity, democracy, constitution, law, and respect for human rights." He also said Iraq will stand firm against terrorism.

Arab League ministers yesterday invited Zebari to participate in the 22-nation league's deliberations today.

Top items on the agenda of the two-day Arab League session are Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Sudan's civil war. Libya reportedly boycotted the meeting, saying it "opposes decisions" to be taken on the new Iraq.

Meanwhile, a deputy in the Russian Foreign Ministry, Yurii Fedotov, says Russia still has a number of questions about a U.S.-backed draft Security Council resolution on Iraq.

He is quoted today as saying that the foreign ministers of the five permanent UN Security Council members will discuss Iraq at an upcoming meeting in Geneva on 13 September. The five are Great Britain, France, Russia, China, and the United States.

The draft resolution, as it stands, would call for a UN-backed multinational force in Iraq but would not relinquish lead political control to the UN.