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Gaddaffi named president of Arab League

March 27, 2010 11:12 A.M. (Updated: March 28, 2010 9:50 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma'an – The rotating presidency of the Arab League will officially be handed over to Libya, ahead of the summit's inauguration on Saturday in Sirtre, Libya, replacing Qatar.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddaffi will replace Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani of Qatar as president of the Arab League. After the consultation session, this year's summit conveners will attend a closed door session to discuss five agenda items, including Jerusalem and the possible withdrawal of the Arab Peace Initiative.

While Arab leaders began arriving for the Sirtre symposium on Friday and Saturday, seven leaders confirmed they will not attend this year, including UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, King of Bahrain Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah, and Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will not attend for heath reasons.

Lebanon will not participate in the summit, while Saudi Arabia has neither confirmed nor declined its invitation to the 22nd series of high-level meetings.

Those leaders already present in the Libyan city include Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Sheikh Sharif Ash-Sheikh Ahmad of Somalia, Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan, Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad As-Sabah, and personal representatives of the king of Bahrain.

Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad also arrived in Sirtre, Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh as well as Saud Bin Rashed Al-Mu'la, representing the UAE, and Fahed bin Mahmoud Al-Sa'eed, the deputy of the Omani prime minister.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will also attend the summit, having been received by President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday.
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