Arab League to open Baghdad office

The Arab League will send a delegation to the Iraqi capital next week to open an office in the city, paving the way for a stronger Arab involvement in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.

    The 22-member pan-Arab body made the announcement on Thursday before a meeting in Cairo of a group of Arab foreign ministers to discuss developments in Iraq.
    Arab diplomats said the meeting scheduled for Wednesday is expected to urge Iraqi leaders to speed up the formation of a unity government, complicated by growing calls for Ibrahim al-Jaafari to step down and the interim Iraqi prime minister's reluctance to do so.
    Arab leaders held a summit in the Sudanese capital Khartoum last month that called for a stronger Arab role in the future of Iraq, which remains engulfed in violence three years on from the US-led  invasion.
    Until now the Arab League, reflecting its opposition to the  invasion which toppled Saddam, has failed to open an office in Baghdad, where Arab diplomats have often been attacked by insurgents.



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