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Egypt to Send Minor Envoy to Arab Summit in Syria

Egypt says President Hosni Mubarak will not attend an Arab summit in the Syrian capital, Damascus this week.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit told the state news agency (MENA) Wednesday that a lower level cabinet minister will head the Egyptian delegation instead.

The two-day summit, which begins Saturday, is typically attended by heads of state from the participating Arab countries.

Egypt's move follows an announcement Tuesday from Lebanon that it would boycott the summit. A Lebanese government official said one of the main reasons for the decision is parliament's failure to elect a new president.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia announced its King Abdullah would not be attending the summit, reflecting a rift between Riyadh and Damascus over the Lebanese crisis.

A top Saudi official said the country will send a lower level diplomat to the meeting.

Saudi Arabia backs the pro-Western Lebanese government, while Syria supports the Hezbollah-led opposition.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.