Lebanon News

Sleiman arrives in Doha for Arab League summit

Lebanon's Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour attends a preparatory meeting with Arab foreign ministers ahead of the annual Arab League Summit in Doha March 24, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman headed to Doha Monday to take part in an Arab League summit where he will put forward his country’s stances on developments both at home and in the region.

Sleiman was met on his arrival by Qatar’s leader, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, as well as leading Qatari officials, the National News Agency said, adding that after a brief break Sleiman and the accompanying Lebanese delegation headed to the Ritz hotel.

Sources close to the president told The Daily Star Sunday Sleiman’s speech at the summit, which will kick off Tuesday, would emphasize Lebanon’s commitment to its policy of disassociation from events in Syria, in line with the Baabda Declaration, agreed during a National Dialogue session in 2012.

The Syrian crisis is expected to top the summit’s agenda.

A high-ranking, Arab League official told Agence France Presse Monday that the Syrian opposition has been invited to the League summit and will occupy Syria’s seat at the regional organization.

The League suspended Syria’s membership in 2011 and in 2013 recognized the Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate representative of Syrian people.

The two-year civil war in Syria has killed more than 70,000 people and forced many to flee into neighboring countries, including Lebanon.

The sources told The Daily Star that in Qatar Sleiman would also stress the need for a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the Madrid Peace Conference and relevant international resolutions.

In meetings with various Arab leaders, Sleiman would also likely discuss the fear of deterioration in Lebanon given the recent resignation of the government and the failure to agree on a new electoral law, the sources added.

The Lebanese delegation to the Gulf country includes Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Samir Mouqbel, Caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, Caretaker Economy Minister Nicolas Nahhas and Caretaker State Minister Ahmad Karami. – With AFP





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