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Arab leaders meet on Gaza as Israel presses offensive

Source: Xinhua | 01-17-2009 07:57

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

DOHA/KUWAIT CITY, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Arab leaders met in Qatar and foreign ministers in Kuwait on Friday to deal with the Israeli offensive in Gaza that has killed more than 1,100 people and wounded more than 5,000 others in 21 days.

Damascus-based Hamas exile top leader Khaled Meshaal (R) attends an emergency Arab summit in Doha Jan. 16, 2009. Meshaal vowed on Friday that his movement would not accept Israel's conditions for a ceasefire in Gaza.(Xinhua/Li Zhen)

Damascus-based Hamas exile top leader Khaled Meshaal (R)
attends an emergency Arab summit in Doha Jan. 16, 2009.
Meshaal vowed on Friday that his movement would not
accept Israel's conditions for a ceasefire in Gaza.
(Xinhua/Li Zhen)

In Doha, the Qatari capital, about 12 to 13 Arab leaders began an emergency summit as scheduled despite the fact that it did not achieve the quorum of two thirds of the 22-member Arab League to hold such a summit with regional heavyweights Egypt and Saudi Arabia refusing to attend.

Hamas exiled leader Khaled Meshaal vowed that the Islamist movement would not accept Israel's conditions for a ceasefire.

"I assure you: despite all the destruction in Gaza, we will not accept Israel's conditions for a ceasefire," he said.

Meshaal also called on Arab leaders to cut all ties with the Jewish state.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also urged Arab nations to cutties with Israel.

The Arab-Israel peace initiative is "dead," Assad told the meeting, calling for the Arabs to cease "all direct and indirect ties" with the Jewish country.