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Arab leaders demand "immediate" Israeli withdrawal from Gaza - statement

MANAMA, May 16 (KUNA) -- Arab leaders on Thursday reiterated calls for the "immediate" withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from the Gaza Strip, paving the way for the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid there.
This came in the final communique of a pan-Arab summit in the Bahraini capital.
This includes the release of Palestinian hostages and the complete halt of all Israeli military operations against the Palestinians, the statement underlined, citing the "Palestinian cause" would remain the core concern of the wider Arab region until Palestinian statehood aspirations come to fruition, based on 1967 border lines.
It ramped up pressure on the international community to commit to relevant United Nations conventions, which urge Israeli occupation forces to cease their "illegitimate practices" that constitute a "flagrant violation" of humanitarian laws and principles, it added.
The statement called on the international community to take "effective and concrete" measures aiming to put an end to Israeli occupation of Arab lands, which includes a complete halt to growing Israeli settlements on Palestinian territories, while stressing the two-state solution as the only way out of the conflict.
Furthermore, the final communique or Bahrain Declaration urged the deployment of UN forces in occupied Palestinian territories until the bi-state solution is put in place, underlining timetabled negotiations for a Palestinian state.
The Bahrain Declaration stressed commitment to ensuring maritime shipping in the Red Sea, Bahr Al-Arab, Gulf of Oman and Arab Gulf.
Elsewhere in the region, the statement expressed growing Arab concerns over the worsening humanitarian conditions in Sudan, saying the situation there is detrimental to regional peace and security, calling on the African nation's warring parties to ramp up dialogue in a bid to end the unrest there.
The statement addressed a number of Arab nations mired in unrest, including Libya, Lebanon and Yemen, amongst others, once again calling for more dialogue to resolve the conflicts in these countries, saying the peace and security of these Arab nations is inextricably linked to the region's prosperity and development as a whole.
Backing counter-terrorism efforts through more cooperation with global bodies and organizations was also mentioned in the statement, in additon to measures aiming to ensure a nulcear-free Middle East, giving Bahrain due credit for hosting the annual Arab summit at such a critical juncture. (pickup previous) nsa.kna.nam