BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman left for Peru Sunday to head the Arab delegation in the Summit of South American-Arab Countries. The summit, a gathering to promote cooperation and political coordination, will kick off in Lima Tuesday.
Sleiman is scheduled to visit Argentina and Uruguay, where he is expected to meet with government officials and Lebanese expatriates.
The Lebanese delegation includes Deputy Prime Minister Samir Moqbel, Foreign Affairs Minister Adnan Mansour, Minister for the Displaced Alaaeddine Terro, Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui as well as former Interior Minister Ziyad Baroud and first lady Wafaa Sleiman.
Sleiman will deliver a speech at the Peru summit. The first Summit of South American and Arab Countries, or ASPA, was held in 2005 in Brasilia. The most recent ASPA summit took place in Doha in 2009.
ASPA brings together 22 Arab countries and 12 South American nations and is considered the brainchild of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Following his stop in Peru, Sleiman is scheduled to travel to Argentina and Uruguay for meetings with officials and the Lebanese community members there.
Over the weekend, Sleiman held talks with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who briefed him about his meetings in New York last week, where he represented Lebanon at the U.N. General Assembly and delivered a speech Friday.
Sleiman and Mikati met Saturday at the Baabda presidential palace where they discussed local and regional issues.