Yesterday, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki issued an apology to the Iraqi people for acts of violence carried out by some Tunisian nationals against civilians during the Iraqi war and its aftermath. ”These individuals do not represent the Tunisian people, who wish only wellbeing and joy to Iraq,” said Marzouki.
Marzouki’s statement came one day before the start of the Arab Summit in Baghdad today. Safia Souheil, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Iraqi parliament, told Radio Sawa Iraq that Marzouki’s words were an appropriate diplomatic move.
Iraqis, too, welcomed Marzouki’s words, but expressed their disapproval of his request to extradite Tunisians convicted in such crimes against Iraqi civilians.
Prior to the Arab leaders’ meeting today, Marzouki met with President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas. Marzouki insisted on the need to reactivate the Al Quds fund in support of the Palestinian people.
Marzouki also met with the head of the Libyan National Transitional Council Mustafa Abdul Jalil. They shared a common position towards the Syrian crisis – repudiating any foreign interference as well as opposing the arming of the Syrian opposition. Abdul Jalil affirmed that Tunisian investments, and employees, would be given priority in post-Qaddafi Libya.
Arab Foreign Affairs Ministers met yesterday to agree upon nine different items and introduce a draft resolution over the Syrian and Palestinian situations. Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs Rafik Abdessalem was not present at yesterday’s meeting, as he was in London for a working visit. Instead, Tunisia was represented by Abdallah Triki, Secretary of State in charge of Arab and African affairs.
The resolution was then submitted today to the ten Arab leaders. Only 9 of 22 Arab League member states were represented at today’s meeting. Abdul Jalil, delivered a keynote address at the opening of the 23rd summit before handing over the floor to Iraqi President Jalal Talbani, who chaired the event.