Algeria's president told a summit of Arab leaders Tuesday that the United Nations should clearly define the meaning of terrorism.
"In this world, everyone is fighting its terrorism. Some are fighting Islam, others make it an excuse to invade countries," President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the summit host, said in a speech opening the two-day meeting.
"There should be a clear definition of terrorism that everyone in the United Nations can agree on," he said. "Only then we can reach an alliance between civilizations which will protect both from the dangers."
Arab nations long have been sensitive to accusations that Palestinian and Lebanese militants are terrorists, as Israel and the United States label them. Many Arabs consider groups such as the Islamic militant group Hezbollah, which fought Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, legitimate resistance fighters.
The head of the 22-member Arab League, Amr Moussa, said in his speech to the summit that most Arabs are moderates and that it was unfortunate that Arabs are accused "only of contributing to the production of terrorism."
In a veiled criticism of the United States, Moussa also argued that change cannot be imposed on the Middle East.
"There are extremist currents that call for a clash of civilizations and support military occupation and interference in the internal affairs of states and the change of societies by force," he said.