Arab League meet to discuss League reforms

The Arab League, long accused of inefficiency, agreed Thursday to improve its decision-making process which critics and member states say is crippled by the need for a consensus. The foreign ministers and diplomats from 21 Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority have decided that - while a consensus would be favored - two-thirds of the members' votes would be enough to pass resolutions on issues concerning sovereignty, attacks against an Arab state, boycotts, security matters and mediation efforts. "The Arab world faces increasing challenges which should be met with increased joint efforts," Jordan's Foreign Minister Abdul-Ilah al-Khatib told the gathering at the opening of the meeting in the League's headquarters in Cairo. The changes are part of a push to reform the cash-strapped league, a body formed in 1945 to promote Arab unity. But its critics have often dismissed it as simple a talk-shop unable to take real action, paralyzed by rules that require consensus to pass decisions. Thursday's amendments to the charter are not final as any changes must be approved by the leaders who are expected to meet in a March summit in Sudan.