Divisions reported at Arab summit in Iraq

March 28, 2012 at 1:12 PM
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BAGHDAD, March 28 (UPI) -- The crisis in Syria is expected to dominate the Arab League summit in Iraq, though there are divisions among the members, an attendee said.

Arab representatives arrived Wednesday in Baghdad for the first Arab League summit in Iraq in roughly 20 years.

A Libyan envoy opened the summit in Baghdad before giving over to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

Al-Jazeera reports attendance at the summit was low. Qatar and Egypt were among the countries that didn't send representatives.

In a historic move, Riyadh sent and envoy to Baghdad but al-Jazeera reported he was serving as a "non-resident" ambassador.

Baghdad, the Arab broadcaster notes, aims to put its post-war progress on display, though the country reportedly spend more than $500 million on a capital facelift and deployed some 100,000 armed forces to provide security for the meeting.

The agenda is expected to be dominated by the conflict in Syria. Al-Jazeera correspondents said there are "divisions" and calls for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down weren't expected.

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