Friday, March 28, 2008

Jordan, Yemen snub Arab summit

Two more Arab countries refrain from sending their head of state to Arab summit in Syria. Amman announces it will send its Arab League representative to head Jordanian delegation; Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to represent Yemen
News agencies

Jordan announced Friday it would send its Arab League representative — not the king — to head the Jordanian delegation to the Arab summit in Syria.

Meanwhile, Yemen plans to send its vice-president to the Arab summit in Damascus, a Yemeni official said on Friday, the latest country refraining from sending its head of state to the meeting.

Heads of states or of government are usually supposed to attend in person the yearly Arab League summit, being held this weekend in Damascus. The low-level delegation headed by representative Omar Rifai, rather than Jordan's King Abdallah II, appeared to be another snub to Syria, which has irked several pro-US Arab nations.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have also announced they were sending low-level delegates, and Lebanon is boycotting the summit altogether.

Lebanon's government, Saudi Arabia and the United States accuse Syria of prolonging the crisis between the Western-backed Beirut government and pro-Syrian opposition that has kept Lebanon without a president since November.

Jordanian State Minister for Information, Nasser Judeh, did not comment on the reasons the kingdom was sending only a low-level delegation, but said Jordan remains resolute about Arab unity.

"Jordan is committed toward its obligations to continue its role to achieve Arab solidarity and consolidate the joint Arab action to find Arab solutions to the challenges facing the Arab nation," he said in remarks carried by the official Petra news agency.

Vice-president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi will represent Yemen at the summit, the official told Reuters. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will not attend the meeting because of "special circumstances", the official added, without elaborating.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

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