The League of Arab States
Over the past few years,points of contact between Austria and the EU on the one side and the League of Arab States on the other principally arose in connection with the still unresolved Middle East conflict and the conflict in Iraq.Thus, for example, the regular summit meeting of the League of Arab States held in Beirut on 27-28 March 2002was completely dominated by the Saudi-Arabian peace initiative aimed at resolving the Middle East conflict.And the EU, for its part, is seeking to closely involve the Arab states in its efforts to bring about progress in the Middle East Peace Process.
In connection with the EU's efforts to do everything possible to prevent the war in Iraq, close coordination with the Arab states represented an important aspect of the joint EU line, as demonstrated inter alia in thefinal conclusions of the European Council meeting of 17 February 2003.It was in this context that Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner travelled to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia on 7-9 February 2003 on behalf of the Greek EU Presidency.
The General Secretary of the League of Arab States,Amre Moussa,increased the visibility of the Arab League in international relations, inter alia with respect to the Dialogue Among Civilisations, and in this connection paid two visits to Austria in 2002 at the invitation if the Federal Chancellor.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference
From 12-13 February 2002 the Foreign Ministers of the OIC states met with the Foreign Ministers of the EU Member States and accession candidates within the framework of a common forum in Istanbul.The event focussed on promoting mutual cultural understanding as well as dialogue between the Islamic world and the European states in the aftermath of the terror attacks of 11 September 2001.