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» 03/26/2008
LEBANON – MIDDLE EAST
Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to boycott Damascus meeting
by Paul Dakiki
Syria is blamed for Lebanon’s presidential deadlock. Arab countries fear Iran’s growing influence.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Lebanon has decided not to take part in the Arab League summit scheduled to open in Damascus on Saturday. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak appears poised to stay away. Saudi Arabia will send instead a low-level diplomat.

Lebanon’s Information Minister Ghazi Aridi made the announcement of his government’s decision, accusing Syria for the protracted crisis that has prevented the election of the country’s president since last November.

A presidential vote has not taken place because of the undue demands by the Hizbollah-led opposition, and fears in the anti-Syrian camp since its members have targeted by terrorist attacks.

Regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Egypt have also blamed Syria for obstructing the election. For this reason Riyadh has decided to send a low-profile representative to the summit. And short of any major developments, the Egyptian president will be absent from the meeting.

The Arab League is deeply divided over different visions regarding important issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and relations with the United States and Israel.

Ultimately Arab countries are also concerned about rising Iranian and Shia influence in the region. Iran in fact backs Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

According to Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, Iran will dominate the Damascus summit via its proxy Syria.


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See also
02/15/2010 LEBANON
Commemorating Rafik Hariri’s death, demanding answers from March 14 leaders
by Fady Noun
02/26/2008 LEBANON
Moussa returns from Beirut empty-handed
by Paul Dakiki
02/18/2008 LEBANON
Arab pressure on Syria over the election of the Lebanese president
03/31/2008 SYRIA – LEBANON
Arab League summit in Damascus delivers “lukewarm” results
by Paul Dakiki
03/30/2009 QATAR
Doha: an Arab League summit with many questions

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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