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24 November 2017

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03/26/2008 LEBANON – MIDDLE EAST

Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to boycott Damascus meeting

Syria is blamed for Lebanon’s presidential deadlock. Arab countries fear Iran’s growing influence.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Lebanon has decided not to take part in the Arab League summit scheduled to open in Damascus on Saturday. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak appears poised to stay away. Saudi Arabia will send instead a low-level diplomat.

Lebanon’s Information Minister Ghazi Aridi made the announcement of his government’s decision, accusing Syria for the protracted crisis that has prevented the election of the country’s president since last November.

A presidential vote has not taken place because of the undue demands by the Hizbollah-led opposition, and fears in the anti-Syrian camp since its members have targeted by terrorist attacks.

Regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Egypt have also blamed Syria for obstructing the election. For this reason Riyadh has decided to send a low-profile representative to the summit. And short of any major developments, the Egyptian president will be absent from the meeting.

The Arab League is deeply divided over different visions regarding important issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and relations with the United States and Israel.

Ultimately Arab countries are also concerned about rising Iranian and Shia influence in the region. Iran in fact backs Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

According to Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, Iran will dominate the Damascus summit via its proxy Syria.






See also

15/02/2010 LEBANON
Commemorating Rafik Hariri’s death, demanding answers from March 14 leaders
More than 100,000 people gather to commemorate the death of former PM Hariri. Speaking to the crowds, leaders reiterate in measured tones the alliance’s goals. However, banners appear, asking, “What have you with my vote?”

26/02/2008 LEBANON
Moussa returns from Beirut empty-handed
Although no one is admitting it formally, the Arab initiative has failed. The possibility of reviving it depends on political pressure from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. For the 15th time, the parliamentary session to elect the republic's president has been delayed.

18/02/2008 LEBANON
Arab pressure on Syria over the election of the Lebanese president
Egypt and Saudi Arabia are threatening to boycott the Arab League summit in Damascus. Patriarch Sfeir highlights the need for the factions to overcome the distance that divides them.

30/03/2009 QATAR
Doha: an Arab League summit with many questions
Iran’s growing regional power, the Arab position vis-à-vis Israel and the Palestinians as well as the international arrest warrant against Sudan president will be on the discussion table. Arab countries are trying to reach common positions on various issues but few experts expect them to reach actual decisions.

31/03/2008 SYRIA – LEBANON
Arab League summit in Damascus delivers “lukewarm” results
Out of the meeting comes advice on electing Lebanon’s new president and demands for an end to armed militias in Iraq. Syria calls the summit a success, but the Arab world is has divided as it has ever been. Meanwhile Tehran’s shadow looms greater than ever.


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