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French Version

Jordan briefs Moussa on spat with Qatar at UN

Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdel-Ilah Khatib briefed Arab League chief Amr Moussa Wednesday on his country's diplomatic row with Qatar over the UN succession vote. Khatib told Moussa in a telephone call of Jordan's "displeasure" with Qatar for breaking ranks with an Arab decision to back Amman's candidate to succeed UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the state-run Petra news agency reported.

Amman recalled its ambassador to Doha for consultations over the UN vote. Khatib told Moussa that Qatar was bound by a unanimous Arab decision to vote for Jordan's UN representative, Prince Zeid al-Hussein, to succeed Annan. Petra quoted Khatib as saying Qatar could have cast more than one vote in the straw polls that took place Monday and last Thursday.

"The Qatari delegation ... could have, during the two consecutive straw polls, voted for more than one candidate," Petra quoted Khatib as saying. "But the Qatari delegation not only ignored the unanimous Arab decision to back Prince Zeid, it also showed a determination to oppose the Jordanian candidate."

"Several countries in the Security Council voted for more than one candidate and the Qatari delegation could have voted for Prince Zeid and for Thailand's candidate," Khatib added.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani said Tuesday that Arab nations had decided six months ago to back Thailand's candidate, long before Jordan announced its own man. But after initially supporting the Thai, Qatar switched its backing to South Korea and voted for Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon. Prince Zeid has pulled out of the race.

Two Qatari dailies, Al-Rayah and Asharq, criticized Jordan's move, saying the kingdom "is initiating a row with Qatar for no obvious or justifiable reason."

"For days now, the state of Qatar has remained calm, maintained silence and refused to reply to the verbal campaign unjustifiably launched against it, because it believes that common interests and links should outweigh casual discords," Al-Rayah said, adding that "the row has most probably been instigated by a third party to sow seeds of sedition between the two countries."

Amman,09October2006
Redaction
The Daily Star


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