A Syrian flag (C) is displayed next to the empty Syrian seat during the opening session of the Arab League Foreign Ministers' meeting in Kuwait City on March 23, 2014 ahead of the annual Arab League summit. (AFP PHOTO/YASSER AL-ZAYYAT)
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Rifts over foreign policy will likely make it harder for Arab leaders meeting at a summit this week to forge a common stand on regional challenges, including what many of them see as a threat from Iranian-U.S. rapprochement.Ahead of the summit, Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said there had been no tensions at a meeting of his Arab counterparts in preparation for discussions later this week.Arab summits have long been dominated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a topic on which most Arab states share a common view.In separate remarks, Elaraby agreed at a news conference that the summit's decisions would be affected by "differences".Syrian opposition leaders have been lobbying the 22-member League of Arab States to give them Syria's seat on the pan-Arab body and to push Arab states to approve the delivery of military hardware to them to boost their fight to oust Assad. A senior Kuwaiti official, however, said that the head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad Jarba, would deliver a speech at the summit.
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