Libya Withdraws From Arab League
By KHALID AL-DEEB
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP - 24 Oct) -- Libya has decided to withdraw from the Arab League, Moammar Gadhafi's government announced Thursday.
The government gave no reason for the decision. Libyan officials cited the Arab League's inefficiency in dealing with the crises over Iraq and the Palestinians.
In a statement by the Libyan news agency, the Ministry of African Affairs said an official notification had been sent to Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.
In Cairo, Arab League spokesman Hesham Youssef said the 22-nation organization had received no official notice from the Libyans. However, he acknowledged Libya had raised the possibility of a withdrawal with Secretary-General Amr Moussa.
"This is not a new idea," Youssef said. "It has been raised before but Gadhafi has told the secretary-general that the idea was put on hold."
In Tripoli, Libyan officials said Gadhafi was unhappy with the Arab League's inability to deal with current Arab issues, mainly the standoff between Iraq and the United States and violence between Israelis and the Palestinians.
Gadhafi has been sharply critical of an Arab League peace initiative formalized at a summit in Beirut, Lebanon. After the summit, he urged the "the Arab street" to distance itself from "crippled" Mideast regimes, and called on the Arab League to cancel the Beirut initiative.
Earlier this month, 50,000 people marched in Tripoli urging Libya to withdraw from the Arab League. They accused the Arab League of being unable to help Iraqis and the Palestinians.
Gadhafi has increasingly turned his attention toward Africa in recent years after African countries decided to break the U.N. air embargo imposed on Libya in connection with the 1988 bombing of an American airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people.