Iraqi PM Says 13 Top Arab Leaders to Attend Baghdad Summit
    2012-02-25 22:58:18     Xinhua       Web Editor: Yihang

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki said Saturday that 13 Arab kings and presidents will attend the Arab League (AL) summit scheduled to be held in Baghdad late in March, the Iraqi official television reported.

"The Arab League (officials) informed us that all the Arab states accepted to participate in the summit, and according to AL' s estimations there are 13 Kings and presidents that will attend ( the summit)," the state-run channel of Iraqia quoted Maliki as saying in his speech during a meeting in Baghdad for an Iraqi think-tank group, named the Iraqi Group for Strategic Studies.

Earlier in the day, the official channel quoted Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zebari as saying that Syria will not be invited to the summit, in accordance with a previous decision by the AL.

"Syria is not invited to the upcoming AL summit in Baghdad," Zebari told the television.

"The decision not to invite Syria is not ours. It is the decision of the Arab League, and Iraq has to abide by its decision, " Zebari said.

"Syrian opposition is not invited as well," he said.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi official newspaper al-Sabah said that Iraqi envoys on Friday started visits to Arab countries to hand over official invitations to Arab kings and presidents to attend the Arab summit to be held in Baghdad on March 29.

It said that the Iraqi envoys Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zebari, Planning Minister Ali Yousif al-Shukri, Culture Minister Sa'doun al-Dulaimi, Industry Minister Ahmad Nassir Dali and State Minister of Parliament Affairs Safaa al-Din al-Safi will start their tours to a number of Arab countries.

The summit will be preceded by a meeting for Arab economy ministers on March 27 and Arab foreign ministers on March 28.

Earlier in February, AL Deputy Secretary General Ahmed bin Helli announced during his visit to Iraq that Baghdad will host the Arab summit on March 29.

The Arab summit was initially scheduled to be held in Baghdad in 2011, but was postponed to March 2012 due to the unrest in the region.

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