Saturday, March 28, 2009

Arab Leaders Seek Show of Unity at Annual Summit This Week

Kuwait Times, March 29, 2009 - Arab ministers met yesterday ahead of an annual summit, seeking to put on a show of unity as a rightwing government prepares for power in Israel in what is seen as a threat to Middle East peace. But a Qatari official said only 16 leaders from the 22-member Arab League would be attending the summit in the Qatari capital which opens tomorrow, highlighting their lingering differences. Arab states are trying to overcome rifts which emerged largely over the response to Israel's three-week onslaught on the
Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, and discuss the growing influence of Shiite Iran in the region.

We have to live up to our responsibilities and work towards closing ranks," Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani said at yesterday's meeting of foreign ministers. But Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak - whose country is mediating Palestinian reconciliation talks and efforts to forge a sustainable Hamas-Israel truce for Gaza -will be among the heads of state staying away....

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