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Preparations for 28th Arab Summit underway in Jordan | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A general view shows the meeting of the Arab League Foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital Cairo on December 21, 2013. The meeting has been called at the request of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, League deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli said, and aims to discuss troubled peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel. AFP PHOTO / HASSAN MOHAMED

Dead Sea, Jordan – The preparatory meetings for the 28th Arab League Summit, scheduled for March 29, kicked off on Thursday in Jordan’s Dead Sea area.

Jordan’s Minister of Information Mohammed al-Moumni, who is also head of the summit’s organizing committee, stressed the importance of the meeting and its resulting agreements in dealing with current challenges and the threat of terrorism.

He added that economic and social articles on the summit’s agenda are no less important than political issues, due to their impact on Arab national security, which in turn affects the Arab ummah’s ability to confront difficulties, including terror.

The preparations for the summit will take place between March 23 and 26. They will be followed with an Arab foreign ministers meeting on March 27, while leaders will begin arriving in Jordan on March 28, a day before the summit begins.

Moumni said during a press conference at the Dead Sea Grand East Hotel that Jordan will submit to the summit a proposal on supporting the Arab countries that are harboring the greatest number of Syrian refugees, which are mainly Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt.

The minister revealed that the Kingdom has welcomed refugees in what amounts to 18 percent of its population. Ninety percent of them live in cities, while ten percent live in the Zaatari camp.

Commenting on the objection voiced by some countries, including Iraq and Tunisia, on the ongoing diplomatic boycott of Syria, the official said that lifting the suspension of its membership is tied to completing the political settlement file.

The Arab Summit will be attended by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen and representatives from the African, European and Russian Unions.

Addressing the situation in Iraq, Moumni remarked: “We support the Iraqi government’s efforts to purify its territories of foreign forces. Arab national security has an interest in a stable and secure Iraq.”

On Iran’s meddling, he commented: “Arabs are unanimous in rejecting Iran’s interference in their internal affairs … We want to build ties based on mutual respect and good neighborly behavior.”

Asharq Al-Awsat found out that the UAE had requested that the ministerial quartet concerned with Iran’s meddling convene ahead of the summit. It will be held on March 27, directly before the foreign ministers meeting on the same day.

The quartet is comprised of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE.

Asharq Al-Awsat also reported that so far 17 Arab leaders will take part in next week’s summit, while Moumni described the conditions preceding the meeting as “positive and fraternal.”

The challenges in the Arab world force all sides to assume their responsibilities at the current time, he explained.