Berri Cancels AIPU Meeting after Saudi Snub

Speaker Nabih Berri has canceled the meeting of the Arab Inter-parliamentary Union (AIPU) that was set to be held in Beirut end of April after he was informed by Saudi Arabia that it would not attend the talks, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Thursday.

Berri informed Arab parliaments that “the conference has been canceled for non-Lebanese reasons,” said al-Joumhouria.

No new date was set by the speaker, it added.

An Arab diplomat told the newspaper that the Saudi stance would have been followed by a similar announcement by other Gulf countries, including Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Fears of a weak Gulf presence in the meeting prompted Berri to cancel it, said the diplomat, who was not identified.

The Saudi decision not to attend the meeting had security reasons, the source added.

But the diplomat did not confirm whether it came against the backdrop of the barrage of criticism directed at Saudi Arabia by Hizbullah.

Since March 26, the Saudi-led coalition has been pounding the rebels known as Huthis and allied fighters loyal to Yemen's ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Saudi campaign has turned Yemen into a new proxy war between the kingdom and Iran, which has backed the Huthis, though Tehran denies aiding the rebels militarily. Hizbullah is a close Iran ally.



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