Iraqi prime minister to skip Arab summit amid fighting in Basra

March 28, 2008 12:12

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has decided to skip this weekend's Arab summit amid fighting in the southern oil port of Basra. Two government officials say Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi will attend the meeting in Syria instead. Al-Maliki has been in Basra since Monday overseeing a security crackdown against militiamen led by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The operation has sparked protests and clashes in Baghdad and several southern cities. The officials confirming the news are Ali al-Moussawi, head of the National Media Center, and Laith Shobar, an adviser to the vice president. They say the Shiite vice president flew to Damascus on Friday.

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