Abul Gheit: No US Pressure on Arab Leaders to Skip Beirut Summit

Monday, 21 January, 2019 - 09:30
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul Gheit stressed that he had not received any US sign or pressure regarding the absence of leaders from the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit (AESD) that was held in Beirut over the weekend.

In a joint news conference with Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs in the caretaker government, Jebran Bassil, at the end of the summit, Abul Gheit said that the Arab League did not address the Syrian file in a comprehensive manner.

He added that the decision to suspend Damascus’ membership was issued when he was not secretary-general, saying that he “personally did not like it.”

Bassil, for his part, said: “We have sensed a positive response to Syria’s return to the Arab fold.”

“There has been no communication with Syria in this respect and we do not know its position on this subject, but we express Lebanon’s opinion since the return of Syria to the League is part of its return to the Arab fold,” he added.

As for Libya’s non-participation in the summit, Bassil remarked: “We regret, as a Lebanese State, Libya’s non-participation, and we express our dissatisfaction with it. But this does not prevent the Libyan leadership from fulfilling all of its duties to uncover the fate of Imam Moussa al-Sadr.”

In his official speech at the opening of the summit, the minister stressed that the AESD was successful despite the surrounding controversy, pointing out that Lebanon had performed its duty to organize the event, which he said was an opportunity to activate communication with Arab countries.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun concluded the summit on Sunday, underlining that its outcome would contribute to enhancing Arab joint action towards securing an integrated Arab economy.

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