Lebanon not to attend Arab summit

Published March 15th, 2010 - 09:00 GMT

Lebanon has rejected "for administrative reasons" Libya's invitation to the upcoming Arab summit, the Lebanese foreign ministry said on Monday. "The invitation was received by the Lebanese embassy in Damascus, which is not authorized to receive and respond to this invitation for administrative reasons," the ministry said in a statement.


Earlier Monday, the Voice of Lebanon radio station quoted "well-informed" sources as saying that Lebanon's ambassador to Damascus Michel Khoury voiced reservations at the way the invitation was sent.


President Michel Suleiman will not attend the summit following demands by the Shiite community to boycott the event.


Sources from Speaker Nabih Berri's Development and Liberation bloc has told An Nahar daily that "Lebanon's participation in the summit is a very dangerous issue and would worsen the situation in the country."  Sadr -- who is still regarded by Lebanon's Shiite community as a key spiritual guide -- vanished on August 31, 1978, and the circumstances of his disappearance are still a mystery. He was last seen in Libya.

In 2008 Lebanon issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi over the disappearance of the imam while he was in Tripoli with two companions, who also went missing with him.

Libya has denied involvement in Sadr's disappearance, saying he left the country for Italy. But the Italian government has always denied he ever arrived there.

In 2004, however, Italian authorities returned a passport found in Italy belonging to the imam.

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