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Lebanon's Berri urges postponement of Arab Economic Summit, MPs say

  • 9 Jan 2019

As Lebanon failed to agree on a new government, the Arab League economic summit in Beirut will be postponed, said Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. He also asserted Syria should return to the League.

In this photo released by the Lebanese Parliament Media Office, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, speaks after he was re-elected, at the parliament building, in Beirut, Lebanon, May 23, 2018. ( AP )

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called on Wednesday for an Arab League economic summit due to take place this month in Beirut to be postponed because Lebanon had failed to agree on a new government.

Berri also asserted "again the necessity of having Syria participate in such a summit," lawmakers from his parliamentary bloc quoted him as saying at a meeting.

The Arab League suspended Syria's membership seven years ago after the regime crackdown on mass protests against Syria regime leader Bashar al Assad.

Some Arab states, including ones that had backed rebels, are now seeking to reconcile with the Syrian regime, which has recovered most of the country with Russian and Iranian help.

TRT World speaks with Abdullah Al-Arian, an Associate Professor from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Last month, the United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus and Sudanese President Omar al Bashir became the first Arab head of state to visit since the conflict began. For Syria to be reinstated, the League must reach a consensus.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Tuesday Damascus must take several steps before it can return to the League, including making political progress in defunct UN peace talks.

"When this happens, we can talk about the matter. At this time, there is nothing new qualifying it," he said.

Assad's Lebanese allies, including Berri and Iran-backed Hezbollah fighting alongside the Syrian regime forces, have ramped up calls for Syria to join the summit.

The Lebanese presidency seemed to be pressing ahead with plans to host the summit in Beirut, inviting journalists on Wednesday to apply for accreditation in time. 

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