A new Libyan leadership may be present for Arab summit in May

Dina Ezzat , Monday 14 Mar 2011

If acknowledged by Arab states, the new Libyan National Transition Council could represent Libya during the May 2011 Arab League Summit in Baghdad

Libyan revolution
Anti-Libyan Leader Moammar Gaddafi rebels, stand on their vehicle at a desert road between Agela and Ras Lanouf towns, eastern Libya, on Saturday (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

"You might be seeing the representatives of the Libyan National Transitional Council present in the next Arab summit," said an Arab diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity to Ahram Online.

The next Arab summit, the source said is "scheduled so far to open in Baghdad on 11 May; a preparatory foreign minister's meeting will be held in the Iraqi capital on 10 March."

Libya, under current ruler Muammar Gaddafi, was the chair of the Arab summit until the Arab League decided to suspend the country’s participation in all organisational meetings in response to the regime’s massive, violent assault against demonstrators demanding an end to over four-decades of Gaddafi rule.

The Libyan leader announced the national transitional council two weeks after the start of the 17 February revolution. Last week France acknowledged the council as a representative of the Libyan people.

Earlier this week in Cairo, representatives of the council were received by senior Egyptian and Arab League officials amid growing debate within the Arab world over possible recognition of the council as a representative of Libya.

In theory, Libya should handover chairmanship to Iraq, the 2011 chair of the Arab summit. If the council is acknowledged then it would be a member of its leadership that would go to Baghdad.

"We still have a long way to go before 11 May and so much could happen between now and then," said the Arab diplomat.

According to an amendment approved in 2000, the Arab summit is supposed to convene regularly during the last week of March. The tradition has been kept for the last decade, but this year the annual meeting was delayed due to a series of Arab revolutions aiming to topple long-time dictators in the region.

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