Arab summit: Mubarak talks with Syrian, Sudanese leaders canceled as AL chief says ''calm diplomacy'' needed
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday canceled meetings with the Syrian and Sudanese presidents on rescheduling a postponed Arab summit and returned from Sharm el-Sheikh to Cairo early in the day, officials said.
No official reason was given for Mubarak's move.
Presidential officials told reporters that Mubarak's chief of staff, Zacharia Azmi, had disclosed that the Egyptian leader would not be holding any talks in the Sinai peninsula resort city on Thursday and would return to Cairo instead.
Earlier in the week, Mubarak met several Arab leaders, including the kings of Jordan and Bahrain and the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Abdullah.
He had been expected to meet Thursday with Syrian President Bashar al Assad and Sudanese leader Omar el-Bashir.
On his part, Arab League Chief Amr Mussa said there was a "consensus" among Arab leaders to hold a new summit early next month.
But Mussa said differences remained on whether Tunisia or Egypt should host the summit, amid reports that a rift was developing between eastern and western Arab countries over the issue.
In an interview with Egypt's public Channel 1 television, Mussa noted that "what's needed is calm diplomacy" to settle the issue of whether the summit should be held.
Earlier this week, Mussa said that he will leave for Tunis on Friday for a meeting with Tunisian President Zine Al-Abidine Bin Ali as part of a tour which will also take him to Rabat and Algiers.
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)