Report: U.S. Blamed for Attempts to ‘Thwart’ Beirut Summitإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Three state leaders have so far said they are unable to attend the Beirut summit scheduled this weekend, a move blamed by some on “a U.S. decision not to secure balanced participation in the summit,” al-Akhbar daily reported on Thursday.
Libya has officially decided to boycott Beirut's upcoming Arab economic summit, a day after AMAL Movement supporters removed Libyan flags and addressed insults to Libya near the summit's venue.
Apart from the meetings that begin today as a prelude to the summit in Beirut on January 19-20, this summit suffered a lot of “damage,” said the newspaper.
Until last night, Lebanon was aware that the number of heads of state to attend “will not exceed four.”
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi apologized for attending. Egypt will instead dispatch its prime minister.
Attributing information to Lebanon’s Presidency, the daily said “President Michel Aoun received a letter (on Wednesday) from his Palestinian counterpart apologizing for not being able to attend because he is going to be in New York to head the Group of 77 and China. The Palestinian prime minister, Rami Hamdellah will head the delegation instead.”
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, did the same yesterday, according to al-Akhbar.
Political sources linked his apology to the crisis of Libya's participation in the summit, to the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the region, and an alleged American effort to “prevent” balanced participation in the summit as part of Washington's decision to “intensify pressure on Lebanon,” it added.
The heads of Arab states who have reportedly confirmed attendance so far are: the Emir of Kuwait Sabah al-Jaber al-Sabah, Tunisian president Beji Qaid Al Sebsi, the Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, and Iraqi President Barham Salih.
Libya's boycott of the summit, and the internal crisis that resulted from that, mainly the flag burning in particular, greatly influenced the participation of Arab leaders, unnamed sources concluded.