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Arab League Summit to be Held in Beirut - 2002-01-17

The head of the Arab League said Thursday the upcoming Arab League summit will be held in Beirut as scheduled. The announcement came after Libya dropped its objection to the summit taking place in Lebanon.

Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi has said he will not oppose holding the Arab summit in Beirut. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa made the announcement Thursday after meeting earlier this week with Mr. Gadhafi in Tripoli.

However, the secretary-general said he doesn't know if Mr. Gadhafi will attend.

Last week Libya asked that the summit be held in Cairo after several leaders of Lebanon's Shiite Muslim community called on the government to prevent Mr. Gadhafi from attending the summit.

Imam Moussa Sadr, a Lebanese Shiite spiritual leader, disappeared in Libya in 1978. He hasn't been seen since. Many Lebanese Shiites blame Mr. Gadhafi for Mr. Sadr's disappearance and are still demanding to know his whereabouts.

Libya claims the spiritual leader left the country.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud said the summit, to take place in March, is expected to focus on the Palestinian issue and stress the difference between terrorism and the right for people to liberate their lands.

The Arab League's first summit was held last year in Jordan.