Arab League summit postponed indefinitely

Tunis- Tunisia (PANA) -- Tunisia on Saturday night announced the cancellation of the Arab League summit initially scheduled to open here Monday.
The postponement was announced by Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Hatem Ben Salem who had been meeting for four days with his Arab League counterparts to prepare the summit.
Ben Salem gave no reasons for the postponement but acknowledged "difference of views" over issues "of great importance to the process of development, modernisation and reform in our Arab countries.
" Several divergent views had been aired concerning the direction the host country had wanted to give the meeting on touchy issues such as democracy in the Middle East, Human Rights, the US- launched Greater Middle East Initiative as well as plans to relaunch the peace initiative with Israel.
Analysts said very few Arab leaders were ready to talk peace with Sharon's government after the assassination last Monday of Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin by the Israeli military.
Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain had decided to send only low-level delegations to the Tunis summit because of disagreements on the conference agenda.
There had been "disagreements" at a preliminary meeting of Arab Foreign ministers over issues to be discussed, the Tunisian statement confirmed.
"Tunisia strongly regrets the postponement of this summit on which Arab and international opinion had pinned great hope considering the delicate situation in the Arab world and the deadlock on the Palestinian issue after the recent tragic events," the statement said.
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa declined any comment on the postponement, while Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa said "we would have liked for the summit to be convened," adding "President Bashar Assad was on his way.
" Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Moasher called on Arab governments to decide quickly on a new date and place for the summit.

28 march 2004 09:29:00

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