Syria calls emergency Arab summit before UN action

Syria called for an emergency Arab League summit in a bid Monday to rally regional support in the face of stern UN Security Council action that would force greater cooperation from Damascus in the probe of the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister. But Arab diplomats, already hedging against a lack of broad support for a summit of all 22 members, suggested a smaller gathering of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Lebanon and Egypt might be organized should others decline out of concern over harming ties to the UN resolution's prime sponsors - the United States, France and Britain. Speaking at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, the diplomats said Secretary-General Amr Moussa had sent a special envoy to Gulf countries informing them of the Syrian request. The diplomats, who were not authorized to speak for publication, said Syria hoped for the meeting after Eid el-Fitr, the Muslim religious holiday that concludes the Ramadan month of fasting, either Wednesday or Thursday.