Arab League chief walks out on Israel's Peres at Petra conference
Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa withdrew from a conference session in Jordan after verbal exchanges with Israeli President Shimon Peres over who blocked the Middle East peace process, the daily Alarab Alyawm reported Thursday.
The incident occurred Wednesday at a conference of Nobel Prize laureates in the historic Jordanian town of Petra, reported dpa.
Peres held Arab countries responsible for the stumbling peace process and blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for not discussing peace between Israel and Syria directly, the report said.
Mussa reacted angrily, citing Israel's failure to respond positively to the Arab peace initiative which was adopted by Arab leaders in Beirut in 2002.
He said Israel's continued settlement activity in Palestinian lands was "changing the demographic situation on the ground, and we are not able to know where you are taking us," the paper said.
Mussa told reporters later that he was forced to respond to Peres' remarks "because Israel was fooling the Arabs by alleging that it was making peace."
At least 280 politicians, economists and academics in addition to 30 Nobel Prize winners are taking part in the conference held under the title "Advancing Access to Science Education as a Critical Driver of Economic Growth and Social Progress."