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Saudi King Criticizes U.S. for 'Illegitimate' Occupation

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, speaking at an Arab summit conference in Riyadh, criticized the United States for what he called the "illegitimate foreign occupation" of Iraq and warned of the dangers of a sectarian civil war there.

"In our beloved Iraq," the king said, "we see the bloodshed among brothers in the light of an illegal foreign occupation. Whereas the very ugly sectarianism is threatening a country which used to live in prosperity."

At the sessions, Arab leaders also called on Israel to accept an Arab peace initiative that requires Israel to return to its 1967 borders.


But other officials at the meetings point out that right now, neither the Israeli nor the Palestinian leadership is strong enough to convince their populations to accept the compromises necessary for peace.

American and Israeli policies are familiar targets at Arab gatherings. But in what some here took as a bracing show of leadership, Abdullah also delivered a stinging rebuke to the assembled Arab dignitaries.

King Abdullah blamed a lack of Arab unity for much of the trouble in the region. He urged Arab leaders to cooperate with one another, decrying what he termed the "collapse of our credibility."

But he also pointed to Western countries as culprits. Abdullah called for an immediate end to the economic blockade of the Palestinian territories.

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