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South American/Arab leaders’ summit in Peru suspended

Sunday, February 6th 2011 - 08:08 UTC
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The III South America/Arab (Aspa) countries leaders’ summit scheduled for mid February in Peru has been postponed announced in Cairo the Deputy Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Ben Heli.

“The summit has been postponed. We are holding talks to agree on a next date”, said Ahmed Ben Heli. The Arab League seat is in the Egyptian capital where tens of thousands of protestors have poured to the streets demanding the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in office for almost thirty years.

On Friday Peruvian Foreign Affairs minister Jose García Belaunde announced that six of the 22 Arab leaders had confirmed their attendance to the February 13/16 South America/Arab summit in the capital Lima.

Garcia Belaunde also revealed that even before the riots begun, Egyptian president Mubarak had anticipated he would not be going to Peru, because he is suffering a “serious illness” and would be replaced by his Minister of Culture.

The Aspa forum brings together 22 Arab countries and twelve from South America and was established during the first summit held in Brasilia in May 2005 sponsored by then President Lula da Silva and his Foreign Affairs minister Celso Amorim.

The purpose of the summit is to bring closer the two developing regions outside the framework of United Nations, according to Peruvian diplomacy.

One of the topics of the now suspended Aspa agenda was the Middle East conflict since all South American countries with the exception of Colombia, plus several from Central America recently announced the recognition of a Palestine sovereign state.

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