Maghreb union summit indefinitely cancelled
The first summit of five north African leaders in the Arab Maghreb Union in nearly a decade was cancelled at the last moment, apparently because of serious differences among member states.
The decision to cancel the Tuesday summit was made by foreign ministers from the member countries of the group, known by its French acronym UMA, assembled in Algiers, officials close to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said.
The UMA also includes Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
Officials would provide no explanation of the indefinite postponement of the summit, which would have been the first of its kind since 1994. The last planned meeting, in June, was called off at Libyan President Moamer Kadhafi's request.
In the meantime, Algerian newspapers reported Monday that neither Kadhafi, nor Mauritanian President Maaouiya Ould Taya had been expected to show up.
Moroccan King Mohammed VI was to have been represented by his foreign minister, Mohammed Benaissa, because Rabat has refused to attend any UMA summits since 1994 due to its deep disagreement with Algiers over the Western Sahara.
The Mauritanian government, for its part, is at odds with Libya, accusing its secret service of financing a foiled coup bid against Ould Taya last June.
By Friday, Bouteflika had already been saying in France that the summit would "take place among the people who come", while Algerian Foreign Minister Akdelaziz Bekhadem had been careful to speak only of a "presidential council", not a summit. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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