Controversy about Arab summit venue deepens as Kurdistan offers to be host

September 23, 2010

The Arab League will next month look into a suggestion to hold its next summit in Kurdistan as a substitute for Baghdad, a Kuwaiti newspaper has reported.

News about moving the site of the annual Arab summit have surfaced following claims that the Arab League and Iraq have not been able to agree on Baghdad as the venue for the annual gathering of the Arab leaders amid security concerns.

“The Arab advisory summit to be hosted by Libya will look into a proposal sent recently by Masoud Barazani, the head of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, to the Arab League offering to hold the summit in Kurdistan in case it cannot be held in Baghdad,” Al Dar daily reported on Thursday, quoting Arab League sources it did not name.

According to the newspaper, the Arab League and Iraq are locked in a “silent standoff” after Baghdad insisted that it would host the summit in March while the Arab League said that it was concerned that Arab leaders would not show up and that the Arab countries would be represented by their foreign ministers.

“Several Arab foreign ministers last week asked their Iraqi counterpart to move the summit venue from Baghdad to another city,” the paper said.

Proposals by Arab ministers included holding the summit in Cairo, the headquarters of the Arab League, or in the Egyptian coastal resort of Sharm El Sheikh, as alternatives.

However, Arab League sources said that the Iraqi foreign minister rejected the calls and stressed that the Iraqi government would go ahead with the Baghdad venue regardless of the status of those who will attend.

The standoff will reportedly be reviewed at the Libyan meeting on October 9.

Arab summits are now held annually in the member countries according to a rotation system based on the Arabic alphabetical order.

Libya is the current chair after it hosted in March the last summit, the 22nd in the Arab League history, in Sirte.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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