Jordan's King Abdullah II will inaugurate the three-day meeting at the Dead Sea resort of Shuneh with a keynote address expected to focus on the need to accelerate regional reforms.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) said about 1200 political, business and civil society leaders from 45 countries have registered for the event to be held on the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, at about 400m below sea level. 

Among those whose attendance has been confirmed are UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in addition to the Opec president and Kuwait's energy minister, Shaikh Ahmed Fahd al-Sabah.

 

Israel is represented with a large delegation that includes Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.

 

Ahmed Qurei, the Palestinian prime minister, will head a large contingent to the meeting that includes Muhammad Dahlan, minister of civil affairs, who will speak on regional security.

 

The forum, a regional event modelled on the WEF's annual meeting at the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos, is the third to be held in Jordan since June 2003.

 

Special sessions

 

Special sessions will be held to explore ongoing changes in Iraq, Lebanon and Libya, as other discussions will view the causes of regional terrorism that are affecting global security.

 

In a statement, organisers said they hoped the meeting would "act as a platform to help leaders focus on efforts to capitalise upon the current climate of change and opportunity in the region".

 

Revival of the Middle East peace process and building a viable Palestinian state following the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank will also be under scrutiny.

 

Three full sessions are to make concrete proposals for Vision 2010, a mix of educational, economic and governance reforms. Almost half of the 50 sessions will focus on economic reforms in Arab countries for a broad spectrum of reforms to achieve greater transparency and the need to create 80 million jobs by 2020.

  

One session will be devoted to saving the Dead Sea which is dying from falling water levels. Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have agreed for a feasibility study for water conveyance from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.