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Arab Meeting to Support Libya Turns into Fight On Kuwaiti Invasion

May 3, 1992

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) _ Kuwaiti and Iraqi officials, gathered to show Arab unity in support of Libya, ended up shouting at each other over Baghdad’s 1990 invasion of the emirate.

The meeting of parliamentarians from 13 Arab countries was held Saturday to express solidarity with Libya in its crisis with the West. The Arabs were to discuss U.N. sanctions against Tripoli for refusing to hand over to the United States or Britain two Libyans suspected of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988.

But the meeting was disrupted when the Kuwaiti representative objected to an Iraqi statement comparing Libya’s position to that of Iraq. Iraq is still under a U.N. economic blockade, even after U.S.-led troops forced it out of Kuwait in 1991.

″Today, one of the leaders tried to compare between the siege of Libya and that of Iraq,″ said Abdel-Karim el-Johaidaly, objecting to the statement by Iraqi delegation chief Ghanem Aziz. ″How can that be? Iraq occupied a sister state.″

Aziz responded by banging furiously on his table with his copper name plate, shattering a saucer, and a five-minute tirade against Kuwait.

Another member of the Iraqi delegation moved threateningly toward the Kuwaiti delegate, but was held back by Sudanese and other delegates.

″I refuse to answer this insult,″ El-Johaidaly said.

Trying to clear the atmosphere, the president of the session, Syrian Abdel- Kader Kadouri asked the Kuwaiti to stick to the agenda. El-Johaidaly apologized to Kadouri and the meeting proceeded quietly.

Most Arab states have condemned the U.N. sanctions against Libya, but all but Iraq have said they will honor them.

Update hourly