Officially: Mubarak Not To Attend Arab Summit
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher announced on Tuesday that President Hosni Mubarak would not attend this week's Arab summit in Beirut, speaking about "domestic commitments".
Delegates said the news came as a surprise to summit host Lebanon as well as the Palestinian delegation which had expected Mubarak to lend his personal support to a Saudi plan for peace with Israel.
"There are domestic commitments in Cairo and he (Mubarak) appointed the prime minister to represent him at this summit," Maher told reporters in Beirut.
Egyptian state television said earlier that Mubarak had appointed Prime Minister Atef Obeid to head Egypt's delegation. It did not say why the premier and not the president would head the delegation. The report said Obeid would deliver the Egyptian president's speech in the opening ceremony.
Earlier this month, rumors had been circulating that the Egyptian leader might not attend the Beirut summit, but Cairo has so far denied these speculations.
President Mubarak on Tuesday advised Palestinian leader Arafat against leaving Ramallah to attend the Beirut Arab summit. In an interview with the Lebanese newspaper A Nahar, Mubarak said: Once Arafat leaves the West Bank town of Ramallah, Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon will not allow him to return. I thus advise him (Arafat) not to come to Beirut, President Mubarak said. Mubarak expressed belief that the idea of having Arafat address the second regular Arab summit via the satellites would be better. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)