Iraq to host Arab summit on March 29

AFP , Wednesday 1 Feb 2012

Arab League announces that Iraq will host coming Arab summit in March

The Iraqi capital is to host the next regular Arab summit on March 29, the Arab League assistant secretary-general, Ahmed ben Hilli, announced on Wednesday in Baghdad.

"We've agreed on all the logistical and security arrangements. Arab economy ministers will meet on March 27, foreign ministers on the 28th and heads of state on March 29," he said at a press conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

The summit was originally due to be held last March 29 in the Iraqi capital but was delayed due to the turbulence of the Arab Spring that last year swept away long-term rulers of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

It was rescheduled until May 11 before being postponed for a second time.

The Cairo-based bloc, which in November suspended Syria because of its deadly crackdown on dissent, is this week seeking UN backing for its plan for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to step down and hand over to his deputy.

The Arab states of the Gulf, which have been among the fiercest critics of the Assad regime, last November also blocked a Syrian request for an emergency Arab summit on the crisis in the country.

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