Lebanese government, Jordanian king decide not to attend Damascus summit
The Lebanese government has officially decided to boycott the Arab summit in Damascus that will be held on March 29, 30. Information Minister Ghazi Aridi, reading a statement after a meeting by Premier Fouad Saniora's government, said Lebanon would also boycott preparatory meetings that set the stage for the summit.
The government urged "Arab brethren to shepherd Lebanese-Syrian relations" to help Lebanon spread its sovereignty over its territories," the statement read. Such an Arab effort should lead to "sound relations between Lebanon and Syria," it added.
The decision was adopted in light of blocking presidential elections and Lebanon's determination to be represented at the summit by "the only Christian president among all Arab heads of state," the statement noted. Such a boycott is a "precedent that has been imposed on us," it added.
Earlier it was reported that the Jordanian king Abdullah has also decided to boycott the Damascus summit. Thus, Jordan will send a low level delegation. The "Jordanian delegation will be either headed by Jordan's Foreign Minister Salah Eddin Al-Bashir or the Minister of State for Information Nasser Jawdat," a Jordanian statement said.
Jordanian king's decision to skip the Damascus summit in was expected after the Saudi and Egyptian leaders decided not to attend.