DUBAI Al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri has accused Arab leaders in a new tape of betraying the Palestinians by attending the Middle East peace conference in Annapolis and urged Muslims to keep fighting.
"The Arab states and governments were present as false witnesses to the latest of the treacherous deals to sell Palestine," Zawahri said in an audio recording posted on Islamist Web sites on Friday.
"Our Muslim brothers in Palestine, unite under the banner of Islam and on the road of God's jihad and reject these secular organizations that sold you out in Madrid and Oslo, in Camp David and Wye River, in Sharm al-Sheikh and Annapolis," he added, referring to a series of Middle East peace conferences.
U.S. President George W. Bush hosted a meeting in Annapolis late last month that relaunched the Israeli-Palestinian peace process which has been largely dormant during his presidency.
Most Arab countries attended the Annapolis talks, giving the peace efforts added legitimacy. Saudia Arabia's decision to attend at a senior level was particularly significant, coming from a leading Arab power that has no ties with the Jewish state.
Zawahri denounced the roles of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, saying they were serving Israel and U.S. interests.
He accused Egypt, which has a peace deal with Israel, of playing a key role in U.S. and Israeli efforts to isolate the Hamas-led government in Gaza.
The authenticity of the tape could not immediately be verified but the voice sounded like that of Zawahri.
"Our Muslim nation, this is a new conspiracy against Palestine and the abode of Islam, so stand with your brothers in Palestine ... and do not leave them alone in face of ... the compromising rulers and Crusader-Zionist aggression," he said.
Zawahri said Muslims would not stop fighting for control of Muslim territories from Central Asia to North Africa, even "if they hold 1,000 conferences in Oslo or Annapolis and 1,000 conferences in London."
(Reporting by Lin Noueihed; Editing by Caroline Drees)