Arab League downplays Baghdad summit participation level

April 1, 2012

Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al Araby has downplayed the significance of Arab countries’ representation at the summit on Thursday.

“The success of the summit is that all Arab countries are attending it,” Al Araby told an Iraqi television channel. “The level of representation is not important as long as all Arab countries are committed to the summit resolutions and decisions,” he told Al Fayha.

The level of representation has been a hot topic, especially for Iraqis who view the gathering as a unique opportunity to regain their country’s stature.

Iraqi authorities said that they handed out invitations to all Arab countries, except Syria whose membership in the Arab League was suspended in November.

Breaking with a new tradition, no non-Arab country has been invited to attend the annual gathering of Arab leaders, a decision that ruled out Iran and Turkey.

Iraq said that it expected up to 13 leaders to attend the summit, but was careful to stress that the average number of Arab rulers who were usually present at Arab summits was between eight and 12.

Ahmad Abdullah Ba-Alawi, the President of the Union of the Comoros, was the first leader to arrive when his plane landed on Monday evening. However, hours before the opening of the summit under high security, only Kuwait from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said that its ruler would attend the summit. Saudi Arabia said that it would be represented by its delegate to the Arab League.

Tunisia has yet to announce who will represent the North African country at the summit, while the delegation from neighbouring Algeria would be headed by parliament Speaker Abdul Qadir Bin Saleh, even though President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika had attended all summits since 1999.

Libya, which last week restored full diplomatic relations with Iraq almost nine years after breaking them off in June 2003, will be represented by the head of its transitional council. Jordan said that Aoun Al Khasawna, its prime minister, would lead its official delegation to the 23rd Arab summit.

Baghdad hosted Arab summits in 1978 and 1990.



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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