Egypt sees Arab summit in two to three weeks
CAIRO: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said an Arab summit which Tunisia unilaterally postponed could be held in the next two to three weeks, Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Monday.
Egypt said on Sunday it was ready to host the meeting after expressing “astonishment and regret” at the postponement of the summit that had been due to open in Tunis on Monday.
Tunisia said it had postponed the meeting because of disagreements over democratic reform during foreign the ministers’ meetings. But delegates said Tunis was unhappy that some Arab leaders did not plan to attend and wanted to prove its democratic creditentials to Washington. Mubarak, whose country is home to the headquarters of the 22-member Arab League, said the summit could be held soon.
“I think there is no problem in it being held in the next two to three weeks,” MENA quoted him as saying in an interview late on Sunday. “Everyone is awaiting the summit and its postponement was a shock to me and everyone,” Mubarak said.
Following Egypt’s offer to host the summit, Tunisia said it reserved the right to host the meeting and said a change of venue was no solution.
“If the presidents want to meet again in Tunis, I have no objection and we do not impose anything on anybody. We just want to rescue the situation,” Mubarak said.
Mubarak gave no date for the summit, but a senior Yemeni official said on Sunday the Egyptian president had told his Yemeni counterpart Ali Abdullah Saleh that it was likely to be held on April 16.
Several Arab leaders have welcomed Egypt’s proposal to reschedule the summit that was due to discuss reform in the region, Iraq and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Arab news agencies said Mubarak spoke to several of his Arab counterparts by telephone on Sunday about arrangements. —Reuters