Tunis offers to re-host Arab summit

Tunisia has said it wants another opportunity to host the Arab Summit, cancelled at the eleventh hour on Saturday.

    Tunisia says venue had nothing to do with cancellation

    "Tunis affirms its right to embrace the summit and calls on the Arab League Council to meet as soon as possible to provide the best atmosphere for the success of the summit," an official in the ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement.

    The official comments on Sunday came hours after Egypt expressed its willingness to host the summit. 
    "Moving the summit to another venue will ignore the main reasons behind postponing the summit," said the official adding that the venue had nothing to do with the unexpected move.

    The summit, which was supposed to be held on Monday, was cancelled late on Saturday to an indefinite date "because of differences over Arab reform," said a statement issued by the Tunisian Foreign Ministry late on Saturday.

    Ministers angry

    Informed sources told Aljazeera that the postponement decision came while the Arab foreign ministers were in the midst of their meeting to come up with the summit’s agenda.

    "After receiving a phone call during the ministers' meeting, the Tunisian foreign minister said the summit was postponed due to 'a sovereign decision'," said the sources.

    Arab foreign ministers were outraged by the Tunisian decision.

    Nabil Shaath says delay is due to 
    clash of 'midgets and giants'  

    "The summit should have taken place, especially during this deteriorating situation in the Arab world - mainly in the occupied Palestinian territories," Lebanese envoy Jan Ubaid told reporters.

    Sources also told Aljazeera that the foreign ministers’ request to meet with Tunisian President Zain al-Abidin bin Ali to discuss the sudden decision was refused citing the president’s "health status".

    But Tunisian officials denied this refusal took place.

    'Mysterious' reasons

    In a private meeting with Jordanian reporters, Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muashir confirmed the decision to postpone the meeting was not made by the foreign ministers.

    Jordan's Marwan Muashir says
    'usual' disagreements were had

    He said he believed the summit was postponed for "mysterious" and "unknown" reasons".

    "The disagreements we had were usual and they were on their way to being resolved," said Muashir.

    Speaking to a small group of reporters, Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath described the postponed summit as a "struggle between midgets and giants" in reference to the opposing positions taken by small Arab countries on one side, and the bigger nations on the other
    Musa reticent

    For his part, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa continued with his unwillingness to comment on the unexpected move.

    "My comment is no comment"

    Amr Musa,
    secretary general, Arab League

    "My comment is no comment," he told reporters on Sunday after he was asked for his opinion on the Tunisian decision to postpone the summit.

    Talking to reporters, Musa, who appeared on Saturday the most furious over the surprising move, seemed more relaxed on Sunday morning especially after Egypt announced its willingness to host the summit.

    Musa also denied speculation that he would resign from his post following what happened and insisted "preparations are under way for hosting the Egypt summit".

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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