Libya won't attend Saudi summit, says Arabs aren't 'serious'

Foreign minister says that "Arab joint action is marred by disorder."

lib fm 88 (photo credit: )
lib fm 88
(photo credit: )
Libya won't attend the upcoming Arab summit in Saudi Arabia, the Libyan foreign minister said Sunday, adding that the Arab world "is not serious" and that "joint Arab action is dysfunctional." "Arab joint action is marred by disorder," Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel-Rahman Shalqam said at Arab League headquarters in Cairo Sunday. "Libya is insisting on a real Arab mechanism - not policies of axes, groups and unilateral changes to decisions," an angry Shalqam said. Arab foreign ministers convened Sunday to prepare the agenda for the summit, which is scheduled for Mar. 28-29 in the Saudi capital Riyadh. Late Saturday, Shalqam announced that his country's "seat at the summit will be vacant." Libya will not attend due to "procedural errors," he said. Shalqam disputed that the shift of summit venue from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik to Saudi Arabia had been done according to Arab League procedures. The 2006 summit had agreed that the 2007 gathering would be held in Egypt after Saudi Arabia, which chairs the summit in 2007, had requested this. But in January, Saudi Arabia had a change of heart and asked that the event be held in Riyadh. "Our relations with Saudi are brotherly and good," Shalqam told reporters Sunday. "But the Arab world is not serious," he said criticizing the way Arab countries manage their political affairs. "Iran has become the enemy (of Arab countries) _ not Israel. What nonsense this is," Shalqam added. Hesham Youssef, an aide to the Arab League secretary-general, said, "We haven't been officially informed about this. I heard remarks by the Libyan foreign minister and I hope this is not a final decision, we still have time to discuss the issue and we hope that Libya will reconsider it."