The 22-member League of Arab States is being threatened with illegal eviction from the Manhattan offices it hasoccupied for the last 30 years.
According to a lawsuit filed on Monday, the landlord asked the League to leave its midtown headquarters about a weekafter the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. The landlord claimed that other tenants inthe building were worried that the group, which has observer status at the United Nations and diplomatic immunity,would attract trouble.
Now, after letting the issue lie for several months, the landlord is saying that the League must either foot the billfor new security measures that were put in place after September 11 or else it must clear the premises within a week.The cost of the bill is $79,000. However, the chief official of the Arab League, Ambassador Hussein Hassouna ofEgypt, has said that the group’s lease is valid and it has no intention of leaving.
The Arab League formed in 1945, at the suggestion of Egypt, to strengthen ties among the member states and winindependence for all Arabs still under foreign rule. Today it represents more than 200 million people.
- Clovis Maksoud, former Arab League ambassador to the United Nations.