Haniyeh, Assad attend Asian Games

Join Ahmadinejad, several other Mideast leaders in Qatar for opening ceremony.

ahmadinejad greets 298.8 (photo credit: AP)
ahmadinejad greets 298.8
(photo credit: AP)
Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh joined several other Mideast leaders here on Friday to attend the opening ceremony of the 15th Asian Games, the Qatar's official news agency said. Syrian President Bashar Assad, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Kuwait's Prime Minister Nasser al-Hamad Al Sabah also were among the leaders who arrived in the Gulf country, the Qatar News Agency reported. Haniyeh, who is on his first tour abroad since his Hamas-led government took office in March, was the only leader to be received at the airport by Qatar's Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, QNA said. The news agency did not say why the other leaders were not welcomed by the emir himself upon arrival. Later in the day, the emir visited Ahmadinejad and Saleh at the hotel they were staying in to discuss mutual relations, said QNA, which did not elaborate. Qatar, which has close ties with America, hosts the US military command running the Iraq war at the sprawling Al-Udeid Airbase. During the last Asian Games in 2002, Iran won eight gold medals, 14 silver and 14 bronze. Kuwait won eight medals, of which two were gold, Syria won three bronze, while Yemen and the Palestinians each took home one bronze medal. The opening ceremonies at Doha's Khalifa Stadium were set to get under way Friday evening.