Economic Summit's Preparatory Session Kicks Off Todayإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
A preparatory opening session for Beirut's Arab Economic and Social Development Summit will be held Thursday at the Phoenicia Hotel.
The public session will bring together Arab heads of states and senior representatives.
According to the National News Agency, the session will include speeches by the head of the Saudi delegation (chairmanship of the summit's 3rd edition), the head of the Lebanese delegation (chairmanship of the 4th edition), and the Arab League's general secretariat.
The delegations were still arriving at the venue by 2:30 pm.
Saudi Arabia's deputy finance minister Hamad bin Suleiman al-Bazeri had arrived in Lebanon earlier in the day. According to the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, the kingdom's delegation will be led by Finance Minister Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Jadaan and will be comprised of officials from the finance and foreign affairs ministries.
Yemen's deputy foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Hadrami also arrived in Beirut on Friday.
A lot of Arab countries have announced that their rulers will not attend the summit. Media reports said the summit will be attended by only four heads of states.
And as Egypt said its prime minister will represent the country, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas apologized Wednesday for not being able to attend the summit and so did Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Libya has meanwhile 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 will not attend the summit seeing as its membership of the Arab League is still suspended.