Arab summit cut to single day
25 July 2016, 19:55
Nouakchott - A 22-nation Arab summit to tackle the region's various crises was cut back to a single day of talks Monday due to the absence of heavyweights Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stayed at home because of "a busy domestic schedule" while Saudi King Salman's no-show was due to "health reasons", an Arab League source told AFP.
The summit, originally scheduled for two full days, is to focus primarily on security and on plans for a joint security force across a region fraught with tension, notably in Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and the Palestinian territories.
However pre-summit ministerial talks showed there were sharp divisions over attitudes towards the tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as over Turkey's incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan.
Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president who is wanted for genocide and war crimes by The Hague-based International Criminal Court, flew into the Mauritanian capital for the talks.
Also present were the heads of state of Qatar, Kuwait, Yemen, Comoros and Djibouti as well as the premiers of Lebanon and Libya.
It is the first Arab League summit hosted by Mauritania since it joined the organisation in 1973.
Foreign ministers on Saturday called for a "definitive solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and welcomed a French and Egyptian initiative to help revive dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.