Arab League leaders agree joint military force

The voluntary Arab military force can intervene to counter challenges that threaten the safety and security of any member

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The Arab League on Sunday called for the establishment of a voluntary, unified military force that member states can turn to when facing security challenges.

The statement, issued in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, calls for establishing a voluntary Arab military force that can intervene to counter challenges that threaten the safety and security of any member, based on a specific request from that state.

Iraq, one of the members of the Arab League, voiced reservations to the proposed military force.

The statement also urged Houthis to “immediately withdraw from Sanaa, government institutions, and give their weapons to the legitimate authorities,” citing its support for the Saudi-led 'Operation Decisive Storm' in Yemen.

On Saturday, the Saudi-led coalition continued for a third day a bombing campaign against the Houthi militias who are marching to the southern city of Aden after seizing the capital Sanaa last year.

According to the statement, Arab leaders at the summit in Egypt also backed Yemeni President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi’s request to hold a conference in Saudi Arabia under the auspices of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Iraq rejected military intervention in any country and called for dialogue as the best solution. Lebanon stressed that any decision taken should prioritize Arab consensus.

The Arab states also expressed their political and financial support to the legitimate government in Libya, and urged for the backing of the national army, according to the draft statement.

They called on the United Nations Security Council to hastily lift an arms embargo on the internationally recognized Libyan government, which they considered as legitimate.

The statement also stressed support for the Libyan government in order for it to control its borders with neighboring countries, a decision that Qatar voiced reservations.

Algeria, for its part, considered lifting the weapons embargo and arming the Libyan army as part of the political solution in the country.

Turning to Syria, the statement held the Security Council responsible, and urged Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi to continue talks with the U.N. chief to place a course of action that includes a political solution to the Syrian conflict and according to the Geneva communique which stipulates a transitional government in Syria.

Regarding Palestine, the statement voiced support for a one year budget starting April, and supported the Palestinian Central Council’s decision to revise political, economic and security relations with Israel in order to place more pressure on Tel Aviv to respect agreements signed.

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