AMMAN, JORDAN, NOV. 8 -- Jordan's King Hussein opened an Arab League summit conference tonight, warning that a disunited and weakened Arab world could not stop the Iran-Iraq war from spreading and could not solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Hussein, who spoke for one hour to the closed meeting that included 16 Arab heads of state, called on Arab leaders to stop using "profit-and-loss" motives to determine national interests.
He also called for Egypt's reentry into the 21-member Arab League, saying that its absence "further contributes to weakening the underpinnings of the Arab order." Egypt was suspended in 1979 for signing a separate peace with Israel under the Camp David accords.
The king's remarks were relayed to reporters in a briefing by Jordanian Foreign Minister Taher Masri. The session adjourned after Hussein's speech and will resume Monday.
Both Syria and Iraq are expected to present proposals Monday on the gulf war. Iraq seeks a strong condemnation of Iran and an endorsement of an international arms embargo against Tehran. Syria, however, is reportedly seeking a call for foreign naval fleets to withdraw from the Persian Gulf, a position that Iran and the Soviet Union advocate.
Two important leaders are not attending the summit, Saudi Arabia's King Fahd and Morocco's King Hassan II. The Saudi delegation is headed by Crown Prince Abdullah, and Hassan's 24-year-old son heads Morocco's.
Jordanian officials did not know until today whether Libya would send a delegation after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi announced he would not attend. But when the conference opened, Libya's seat was filled by Maj. Abdul Salaam Jalloud, Gadhafi's longtime deputy, who arrived from Damascus.
Jordanian officials said that the presence of Syria's President Hafez Assad and Iraq's President Saddam Hussein would enable the summit to grapple with the most urgent gulf war issues.
Syria supports non-Arab Iran in the war, and much of the summit will be devoted to forging an Arab consensus on a July 20 United Nations cease-fire resolution that calls for an arms embargo against either belligerent that fails to comply.
Hussein was said to have told the closed session that the summit must make "a clear and resolute decision" on the gulf war, including "agreement on a mechanism ensuring proper follow-up and implementation of the decision."
He complained that disarray in Arab politics had led the superpowers to focus on Iran as the pivotal power in the region.
"Iran has come to be regarded in international circles as having greater strategic importance than the entire Arab world," he said, according to Masri.
On the Arab-Israeli dispute, Hussein asked for an Arab consensus on convening an international peace conference, and he accused Israel and the United States of obstructing the peace process.
"Israel has succeeded in diverting the role of the United States from that of a superpower with a special responsibility for world peace into the role of sponsor of Israel and its interests," the king reportedly said.