News / Africa

Arab Leaders Gather in Libya Despite Ongoing Tensions

Arab leaders are preparing to meet this weekend, for the annual Arab League summit. Libya's Colonel Moammar Gadhafi is hosting this year's meeting, despite difficult relations with several Arab leaders.

Arab foreign ministers met behind closed doors Thursday in the Libyan coastal resort town of Sirte to discuss the agenda of the weekend summit of Arab leaders.

Libyan government TV showed Colonel Gadhafi welcoming Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and shaking hands cordially inside his Bedouin tent which had green camels painted on the canvas.

Amr Moussa told journalists, before entering the closed door session that Arab unity was the single most important concern of the summit.

He says that the current (regional) situation is extremely critical and that the Arabs cannot confront it divided [as they are]. Moreover, he adds, one of the primary reasons behind the critical situation is that very division of the Arabs.

Banners, signs and posters along the palm-lined boulevard leading into the conference center where the summit is being held also urged Arab leaders to remain united. Many Arab observers, however, have noted with irony that Colonel Gadhafi has been responsible for many of the divisions plaguing Arab ranks in recent years.

At last year's summit in Qatar, the Colonel accused King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia of being an "agent of the U.S. and the CIA," creating a brief row. He has also had open spats with the leaders of Egypt, Kuwait, and several North African neighbors during his long tenure as Libyan leader.

Ongoing friction between Libya and Lebanon over the 1978 disappearance of Lebanese Shi'ite religious leader Moussa al-Sadr, ostensibly while in Libya, is behind the announcement that Lebanese President Michel Suleiman will not attend the Libya summit.

Media reports also said that Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari briefly walked out of Thursday's meeting, angry over public comments by Mr. Gadhafi pledging support to a group of Saddam loyalists he met in Libya earlier this week.

Professor Hilal Khashan of the American University of Beirut says that Arab summits invariably invoke the time-honored theme of Arab unity, but that they never seem to achieve that goal.

"I have been in constant contact with Arab summits since the first one held in January 1963. If I were to base my judgement on the past, I'm inclined to assume that this new summit, which will be boycotted by more than half [of all] Arab presidents and monarchs will amount practically to nothing," he said.

Khashan went on to say that despite Mr. Gadhafi's reputation for creating spectacles at Arab summits, he doubts that the Colonel wants to antagonize his fellow leaders, this year, since he ultimately needs their support for plans to have his sons succeed him when he dies.

"I think Gadhafi's main concern right now is not to quarrel with Arab leaders, but to ensure smooth succession and to place his sons in key positions, so that they will replace him, one of these days," he said.

The ongoing tensions in Jerusalem and the Palestinian-Israeli crisis will be at the top of the agenda of the  summit. 27 items in total are reported to be on the agenda to be discussed by the Arab leaders. The Palestinians are seeking a strong Arab stance in the face of Israel's plans to expand Jewish housing in east Jerusalem. They also want millions of dollars in funding for Palestinians living in that section of the city.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid