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Arab League summit opens in Doha with focus on Syrian crisis

26th Mar 2013

DOHA, (Xinhua): The 24th summit of the Arab League ( AL) started Tuesday in Qatar’s capital of Doha, with regional issues such as the Syrian crisis set to top its agenda.

A total of 15 heads of state of Arab countries attended the summit, including Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, while Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Algeria, Oman, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates are represented by high-level delegations.

The two-day summit is the 24th of its kind since the organization, formally called the League of Arab States, was founded in 1945.

Earlier this month, some countries, mainly oil-rich Qatar and Saudi Arabia, led a push during an AL ministerial meeting to invite the Syrian opposition to occupy the seat of Damascus at the league, whose membership was suspended in November 2011. Lebanon, Iraq and Algeria refused to endorse the decision, saying it is against the AL Charter.

However, Moaz al-Khatib, the resigned head of exiled Syrian opposition coalition, still took up Damascus’ seat at the summit. In a speech on Tuesday, he called for more political and financial support to the Syrian opposition.

Iraqi Vice President Khudeir Musa Al Khuza, in his opening address, called on the AL to form a security council to solve the long-time Syrian crisis.

“Arab Security Council is a practical answer to our issues and to fend off foreign intervention,” he said.

After that, the Qatari emir, who received the rotating presidency of the AL summit from Al Khuza, urged UN actions to help put an end to the Syrian crisis.

The Qatari leader meanwhile proposed holding a mini-Arab summit, led by Egypt and leaders of Fatah and Hamas, in Cairo as soon as possible to achieve Palestinian national reconciliation. He also called for Arab countries to establish a fund of 1 billion U.S. dollars to support the Palestinians, pledging that his country will offer a quarter of the amount.


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