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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Arab summit a failure before it begins

From Monsters and Critics:
A deep inter-Arab rift over Lebanon's political standoff has hit the upcoming summit of Arab heads of state hosted by Syria, with leaders of Saudi Arabia and Egypt staying away and lebanon boycotting it.

Yet the Syrians are pretending the non-attendance is not uncommon, and saying the Lebanese absentees are missing a 'golden chance.'

But the absence of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak, two regional heavyweights, masks irreconcilable differences with Syria over Lebanon.

... Adding to the climate of tension overshadowing the Arab meeting, Saudi Arabia's envoy to the Arab League Ahmed Katan, who will represent it there, predicted the summit was doomed to failure.

'How can a summit be successful while some parties are trying to undermine it and circumvent its decisions,' Katan told the Saudi daily Okaz.

'Resolutions are made but some countries are obstructing them,' Katan said.

The Saudi official was hinting at Syria, which is blamed for blocking the implementation of a plan adopted by members of the Arab League to resolve the political crisis in Lebanon.

It is not uncommon for Arab leaders not to turn up at summits, but they usually send representatives. Lebanon's total boycott, however, is the first of its kind by the country, which is of one of the founding members of the Arab League.

.... The acrimonious Arab exchanges preceding the meeting might have been behind the decision of the Arab League and Syria to keep all its sessions closed to the media.

The failure of a pre-summit meeting of permanent representatives at the Arab League to reach draft resolutions on the Lebanese crisis and inter-Arab ties does not augur well for the summit.
Pan-Arabism is deader than ever.