Arab League summit to consider military pact

The formation of a military pact among nations comprising the Arab League could top the agenda this week during the 19th Arab summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The formation of a military pact among Arab League member states could top the agenda this week during the 19th Arab summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

According to a document drawn up by Egypt, a "new and effective pact for Arab national security" is one of the proposals that will be raised during the start of the summit on Wednesday.

However, it was not immediately clear whether the proposal would call for all 22 members to enter a formal military pact.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said Arabs want to have their own "mechanism" to resolve regional conflicts such as Iraq and Darfur.

"Experience has shown that Arabs can solve their problems without foreign intervention," he added.

In light of what the Egyptian document calls "multiple dangers and threats," there is a "great need to adopt a comprehensive concept for Arab security," it said.

The same document also urges member countries to develop their own nuclear strategies. In the past year, several Arab states have expressed interest in developing peaceful exploitation of nuclear power.

At the Arab summit in Khartoum last year, national leaders decided to set up an Arab peace and security council. But so far, only four countries have endorsed the agreement, which requires seven members to become active.

In 1950, Arab leaders created the Arab Joint Defence Treaty as part of their efforts to challenge the newly established Israel. The treaty was invoked during the Middle East wars of 1967 and 1973.

If approved, the Egyptian-proposed pact would replace the 1950 treaty.

The six Arab states of the Gulf already have a military agreement and have set up the Gulf Shield Defence Force.

With files from the Associated Press