Gulf states condemned for lifting Israel ban

Cairo - The Arab League yesterday criticised six Gulf states for easing their economic boycott of Israel, saying that only the league had the authority to lift the ban. 'The Arab boycott of Israel was imposed by a decision taken by the Arab League Council and it is up to the Arab League Council to call it off,' the league said.

The statement said that the boycott was linked with achieving peace in the Middle East, based on United Nations Security Council resolutions, which call for a complete Israeli withdrawal from all Arab occupied territories. The six Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, announced at the UN on Friday that they were ending the blacklisting of foreign companies that trade with Israel.

Meanwhile, Israel and Tunisia are to begin normalising relations. Representatives of the two countries will be sent to the Belgian embassies in Tunis and Tel Aviv, according to a joint statement. A Tunisian economic liason office is also to open in Gaza and Jericho. Reuter