Riyadh Begins Arab Summit Preparations


According to the Saudi Press Agency, State Minister Abdullah Zainal handed over a message from King Abdullah to President Bashar during a meeting in Damascus. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Zainal said Bashar had expressed his desire to make the Riyadh summit a success for the welfare of the Arab nation.


Arab leaders are expected to discuss the turmoil in Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West and the political crisis in Lebanon during the summit. Saudi Arabia has called for a radical solution to the protracted Arab-Israeli conflict and for the revival of Middle East peace process.


Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said recently that the summit would discuss a string of regional issues, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Iraqi issue. He called on the international community not to stand idly on the situation in Iraq, but rather support Arab reconciliation efforts in the violence-ravaged country.


The pan-Arab forum has been trying to help the Iraqis hold a national reconciliation conference since early 2006, but such efforts have failed to produce significant results as the conference has been postponed several times. The summit is likely to discuss ways and means to strengthen the 23-member organization.


Also yesterday, King Abdullah sent invitation letters to Sultan Qaboos of Oman to attend the summit. Meanwhile, Abdullah received a message from Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah and King Muhammad of Morocco. The king also met with the head of the general bureau of supervision, Osama Faqeeh, who presented him the bureau’s annual report for 2005.

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