Beware Syria summit, US urges Arabs

By Xinhua

Washington : The US has urged the Arab states to think carefully about attending an Arab League summit scheduled for March 29-30 in Damascus, Syria, when political crisis in neighbouring Lebanon is increasing.

Support TwoCircles

“We’re certainly never going to try to dictate who should attend one of these meetings,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters Thursday.

However, the spokesman said: “In contemplating whether or not they attend a meeting in Syria, it is appropriate, keeping in mind what Syria’s role has been to this point in not allowing a Lebanese electoral process to move forward.”

According to reports, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmad Kaouk Arnous has handed over Syria’s invitation Thursday to former Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Saloukh, who recently resigned from office, to attend the Arab Summit.

Observers believed that Syria’s move is to ease tensions with Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, which had hinted it might boycott the summit, should Beirut be excluded.

The Lebanese ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Fouad Seniora have been on bad terms with Syria since the latter was accused of being involved in the assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri in February 2005.

Damascus has denied its role in the killing of Hariri, but was forced to withdraw its forces from Lebanon following the assassination, ending its decades-long military presence there.