Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit on Thursday expressed his “deep admiration” of the efforts that Lebanon has exerted to organize an Arab economic summit that kicks off Friday in Beirut, following controversy over the participation of some Arab countries in it.
Abul Gheit was speaking after talks with President Michel Aoun in Baabda.
“I thanked President Aoun for Lebanon's hosting of the economic summit and expressed to him my deep admiration for the Lebanese organization and the security measures that surpass all expectations,” the Arab official said.
“The more I spend time here, even a single hour, the more I become more and more convinced that this summit is successful,” Abul Gheit went on to say.
Controversy had surrounded the summit in recent days in connection with conflicting Lebanese stances over the participation of Libya and Syria.
Libya has decided to boycott the summit in protest at an “insult” addressed to its flag which was removed from a pole near the summit's venue and eventually burned at the hands of supporters of Speaker Nabih Berri's AMAL Movement.
Threats were also addressed to the Libyan delegation and a number of Libyan businessmen were reportedly barred from entering Lebanon via Beirut's airport.
Berri and AMAL have protested against the invitation of Libya in connection with the 1978 disappearance of AMAL founder Imam Moussa al-Sadr, a revered Shiite cleric. The former regime of slain Libyan leader Moammar al-Gadhafi is accused of kidnapping him. Berri and AMAL have argued that the new Libyan authorities have not exerted enough efforts to unveil his fate.
Syria, meanwhile, will not attend the summit seeing as its membership of the Arab League is still suspended.
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